Readers in Michigan should be aware that people in certain professions who are accused by law enforcement of drinking and driving will probably be subject to more scrutiny than other people in similar circumstances. Among those whose arrest is more likely to be reported in the news media are teachers. Even when the DUI arrest has nothing to do with a teacher's work duties, he or she could face suspension or termination from the school district.
A 47-year-old woman was arrested for super drunk driving with a child passenger recently in an Oakland county village. A motorist called 911 around 11:30 on the morning of the incident, to report a car being driven erratically. The woman's car was spotted driving up onto a yard and sidewalk before returning to the road, where she crossed the center line and nearly struck an oncoming vehicle.
It's no secret that the end of the year is a popular time for drinking. From family gatherings to holiday parties to inevitable New Year's Eve celebrations, alcohol and merriment abound during the weeks leading up to, and sometimes continuing through, the January first.
Our firm recently reported when a twenty year old Grand Rapids Griffin hockey player was arrested for "super drunk driving" on Halloween of this year. He was dressed as a Teletubby, carrying a fraudulent ID, and driving the wrong way down Ottawa Street in Grand Rapids. On December 13, he pled guilty to super drunk driving-operating a vehicle with a BAC level higher than 0.17 percent. He had a BAC level of 0.30 percent after breath testing at the station after his arrest. He was initially charged with the lesser crimes of use of a fraudulent ID by a minor, refusal to take a preliminary breath test, and driving the wrong way down a one-way street. All lesser charges were dropped, and the player entered a guilty plea on December 13, to the super drunk driving charge only.
We have discussed "super drunk" driving in previous posts. Our Lansing readers may know that "super drunk" driving is for those individuals with a 0.17 percent blood alcohol concentration or greater. "Super drunk" driving carries enhanced penalties and can result in up to 180 days in jail, large fines, a one-year suspended license, a year of alcohol rehabilitation treatment and other consequences.
A long holiday weekend in Michigan is a chance to head for the water, the north woods or visit with relatives and friends. Holiday weekends are also a prime time for enhanced highway patrol officers or local police to be on the lookout for potential drunk drivers. One law enforcement technique that is used is a sobriety checkpoint.
Nationwide, states have been cracking down on drunk driving by passing new laws. In Michigan we have our so-called super drunk driving law for those with a blood alcohol level of 0.17 percent or higher. In New York they have Meghan's Law which gives enhanced penalties for any drunk driving conviction with children 15 years old or younger in the car. Many states have enhanced consequences for multiple offenders.
In Riverview, south of Detroit, a 21-year-old man from Brownstown Township was allegedly observed by witnesses as traveling up to 100 miles per hour. It was about 3:30 in the morning when the 21-year-old apparently struck traffic signals on West Jefferson Avenue and Sibley Road.
A drunk driving charge can emerge out of a number of other activities. Perhaps a Michigan police officer pulls someone over for a taillight out, and smells alcohol. Maybe there is a holiday roadblock, and people are pulled over on a random basis. Or a fellow motorist could notice a driver weaving and call 911.
Michigan residents are probably aware of increased penalties for first-time offenders who register blood alcohol readings of .17 percent or higher. After an accident last week, a man who was lucky to escape serious injury may be facing the consequences of the state's so-called super drunk driving law.