There is a relatively “new kid on the block” in the myriad of drinking and driving violations chargeable in Michigan. This newcomer, colloquially referred to as the Michigan “Super Drunk” Law actually took effect on October 31, 2010. Under this law, Michigan drivers who are arrested for operating a vehicle with extremely high blood alcohol content (BAC) face enhanced penalties. Consequently, it is especially important for these individuals to immediately obtain legal representation in order to avoid the stiff penalties following a super drunk DUI conviction.

Nationwide, drivers are required to follow the BAC limit of 0.08%, and any person who violates this law can be arrested and charged with driving under the influence. Michigan legislators have taken the law a step further by imposing harsher penalties on “super drunk” drivers who have a BAC well above this limit.

State law defines “super drunk” as a blood alcohol content of 0.17% or more. If convicted, the penalties for a first high-BAC offense include a one-year license suspension, mandatory alcohol rehabilitation, and up to 180 days in jail. In addition, the state’s new law also requires convicted super drunk offenders to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles (a device that requires a driver to successfully pass a breath test in order to operate his or her vehicle). Michigan drivers, though, can breathe easy as Illinois recently enacted a law requiring that a breath interlock be installed for all offenders. The Illinois law, which went into effect last year, requires the interlock as a condition of driving even before there has been a conviction.

On top of the humiliation of losing your driving privileges and dealing with the stigma attached to drunk drivers, a Super Drunk DUI conviction can have a devastating impact on your pocketbook as well. Along with a court-imposed fine of $200 to $700, you must pay to enroll in an alcohol rehabilitation program, as well as any installation and maintenance fees associated with your ignition interlock device. This says nothing of the effect a DUI conviction can have on your auto insurance rates–at the very least, you can expect to pay two to three times more than you do now and, in some cases, you may be unable to obtain coverage at all.

On top of the penalties associated with the Michigan Super Drunk Law, the expenses of a conviction can really add up. With fines, alcohol treatment, the cost of public transportation (since you will be unable to drive for a while), and everything else, the cost of hiring an attorney is often less than what a conviction can cost you in the long run. When you consider the fact that an experienced DUI defense attorney can substantially increase your chances of reducing or avoiding a conviction, obtaining legal representation just may be the best investment you’ve ever made.

As experienced Michigan trial attorneys specializing in DUI defense, for more than a decade, the attorneys of SMDA have helped many drivers avoid many–if not all–of the penalties associated with a Super Drunk DUI offense, as well as other DUI related offenses. From his advanced knowledge of BAC testing to his familiarity with the latest DUI defense strategies, count on SMDA to provide the skilled representation you need on your side when you are facing a Michigan DUI charge.

SOURCE MCL 257.625(1)(c)
Michigan’s New “Super Drunk” Law by Patrick T. Barone, Michigan Bar Journal, March 2010, Pages 36-37.

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