Super Drunk Driving in Michigan

On January 1, 2011, John Beemer was involved in an auto accident resulting in several people hospitalized with non life-threatening injuries. Mr. Beemer, a Michigan State Trooper, was arrested and charged with felony drunk driving. With a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .17, Mr. Beemer can be charged under a new law, Super Drunk Driving.

Super Drunk Driving Law

Michigan's Super Drunk law, effective October 31, 2010, targets first-offense drunk drivers with a high BAC. It differs from the old first-offender law by increasing the penalty for first-offense drunk drivers with a BAC of .17 or greater (hence the nick-name Super Drunk), where the old first-offender law treated all first-offense drunk drivers the same. The threshold to be considered legally drunk, a BAC of .08, and penalties involving repeat offenders are not changes by the new law. Repeat offenders generally will not be subject to the Super Drunk driving law, as the penalties for repeat drunk-driving offenses are harsher than the Super Drunk driving penalties; however, there are some similarities: such as the alcohol rehabilitation and the ignition interlock requirements.

Under Michigan's super drunk driving laws, penalties for first-offense drunk driving with a high BAC (.17 percent or higher) may include:

  • Enhanced jail time up to 180 days (although many people are forced to participate in an intensive fast-track program as an alternative);
  • Enhanced fines up to $700;
  • Extended license suspension of one year (previously six months)
    • Additional rules involving restricted licenses (permits driving to work, school, and certain medical appointments)
      • Mandatory prohibition from driving for 45 days
      • installation of ignition interlock device at your expense, installation- up to $50, monthly maintenance- up to $100 (device prevents vehicles from starting when alcohol is detected)
      • Violation of ignition interlock rules by attempting to operate with a BAC of .025 percent or higher will result in revocation of your restricted license for 45 days and extend your license suspension period for an additional year;
  • Required one-year alcohol rehabilitation (alcohol treatment program or self-help program);
  • Additional drunk driving fines, fees and consequences as ordered by the court.

With the enactment of the super drunk driving law and its enhanced penalties, it is especially important for drivers accused of driving under the influence to seek legal representation. An attorney with experience representing people accused of drunk driving can help you protect your rights and seek the best possible outcome to the charges you face.