During popular sporting events, police may be out in force with the sole aim of pulling over drunk drivers. This was the case in Michigan over Super Bowl weekend, when police in 20 counties conducted a three day blitz designed to catch drunk drivers.
During the three days, police officers throughout the state conducted over 1,300 traffic stops for a variety of violations, including 45 stops that resulted in OWI charges. Of the 45 drivers who were charged with OWIs, 11 of them had a high blood-alcohol content of 0.17 or greater. Unfortunately, a higher BAC can mean tougher penalties for them because of Michigan's High BAC law.
It is crucial that drivers become aware of the laws and know that they have rights if they have been charged with drunk driving.
Michigan's drunk driving laws
Michigan has some of the toughest laws in the United States with regard to operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Drunk driving charges will not only land an individual in jail, but they can also lead to a license revocation or suspension, higher insurance rates, and costly fines.
Individuals who are arrested with a BAC of 0.17 or greater are subject to even harsher penalties under the High BAC Law. For instance, while it is true that a person with a BAC of 0.08 can be subjected to fines and penalties for being legally intoxicated, having a BAC of 0.17 or greater will bring about what is known as an "enhanced" penalty for those who are found guilty.
Some of the factors that can affect the severity of one's punishment include the following:
- •· Whether or not the driver was involved in an accident
- •· Whether anyone was hurt as a result of the drunk driving incident
- •· Whether reckless driving was involved
- •· The amount of alcohol found in the driver's system
Additionally, those accused of drunk driving should be aware that a hit and run or a death that was caused from an accident will make a drunk driving case much more serious.
Possible penalties and fines
The penalties and fines associated with a first-time offense for operating a vehicle while intoxicated can be life changing. More specifically, an individual convicted for a first-time OWI can be subjected to the following:
•A fine that can range from $100 to $500
•A suspended driver's license for 30 days, and a restricted license for an additional 150 days
•A requirement to complete up to 360 hours of community service
•Installation of an ignition interlock device in the individual's vehicle
•Up to 93 days of jail time
Second- and third-time offenders will be subjected to much harsher fines and increased jail times.
Individuals facing charges for drunk driving should be aware of the law and their rights. Depending on the particular situation, there are defenses available that might be able to help those charged win at trial, get a reduced fine or even eliminate the possibility of jail time. Potential defenses could result if police officers conducted an illegal stop, improper sobriety testing, improper arrest, inaccurate breath and/or blood testing.
Speaking to an attorney who handles these types of cases on a regular basis can be helpful to those accused of drunk driving. Drunk driving charges are not always as cut and dry as most people think, and having an attorney's help might prove to be beneficial.