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Alcohol and driving in Michigan means if you play, you pay

In Michigan, the risk of driving while impaired or intoxicated brings with it great risk to the lives of the driver and others on the roadway. It also carries with it the notable chance of substantial legal ramifications and burdens on the defendant driver should law enforcement pull him or her over or if he or she is in a motor vehicle accident. 

The recent tragedy of the Michigan state representative John Kivela’s suicide was a stark reminder of the damage that the illness of alcoholism and mental illness in general can wreak on humanity. The decision to get behind the wheel in Ingham County and elsewhere in Michigan and operate a vehicle after consuming alcohol is a poor judgment call. The decision often ends in the arrest and prosecution of the individual regardless of his station in life.

A conviction of driving while impaired or while intoxicated charge can be extremely emotionally devastating to the defendant driver. A conviction can also bring with it extensive repercussions in sentencing, both financially and in limited or eliminated freedoms related to both incarceration and driving privileges.

As noted by the Department of State, the penalties are swift and stringent. A conviction will mandate a minimum six-month loss of license, although a restricted license may be possible after 30 days. If blood alcohol concentration is a high 0.17 percent, a year’s loss of license will result, even on a first offense, as well as a rehabilitation program.

A second or subsequent offense will tend to bring jail time. A felony record may result from a third or subsequent offense, although a misdemeanor criminal record will follow a first offense. In fact, a first or second offense will be a felony if a death or serious bodily injury results. All offenses bring with them high fines, including but not necessarily limited to a $500 to $1000 Driver Responsibility Fee. A court may also require a repeat offender to use an ignition interlock device.

Being charged with a DUI in Michigan is a serious matter, where a conviction can be a life-changing event in many negative ways. 

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