In late 2010, a new drunk driving offense took effect in Michigan. It enhanced the penalties for anyone who was arrested driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.17 or greater. This offense is more commonly known as “super drunk.” Many lawyers in Michigan handle the defense of these charges; however, few attorneys are truly effective at achieving extraordinary results for clients.
There is Hope and All is Not Lost
Most people charged with OWI High BAC feel anxious, depressed and hopeless. Rest assured, there is hope and all is not lost. An experienced OWI defense attorney will frequently be able to find a way to get the prosecutor to reduce these charges and persuade a judge to order a reasonable and fair sentence. It is true that judges and prosecutors are especially tough on these cases; however, top lawyers will know how to use the laws and facts in their client’s favor to achieve extraordinary results. There are more defenses to these cases than most people even realize and more than many lawyers even know. The key is finding an attorney, within your budget, that will do whatever it takes to get you the best possible result and will not stop until there is absolutely nothing more that can be done.
The penalties for Super DUI offenses are twice as harsh as standard DUI offenses. You can be sentenced up to a maximum of 180 days in jail, one-year license suspension, 45 days of a hard suspension (no restricted license – no driving), up to $700 in fines and additional monies for court costs, and one year of mandatory alcohol treatment. The court can also order community service and other penalties.
Driver’s License Sanctions for OWI High BAC
Drivers who want to receive restricted driving privileges after the first 45 days must install an ignition interlock device. These are breathalyzers for cars. The driver must blow into the device in order to start the car. If the device detects alcohol the car will not start. As the car is being driven, the driver will have to blow into the device a second time within a short time of starting the car and then after that about 2 times per hour to keep the car running.
If the device detects any alcohol, the driver will not be able to start the car. If the car is already running, it will give the driver a warning and then will not restart once the vehicle comes to a complete stop. A worse consequence is that the device sends the positive test to the monitoring company – which is a violation of the driver’s restricted license and will result in more penalties. Drivers are responsible for paying the fee for the device and there is a possibility for a fee waiver for low-income individuals.
Is the new law effective?
As some defense attorneys point out, Michigan has tough drunk driving laws and previous increases in OWI penalties have done little to stop drunk driving. The law has also had the unintended consequence of adding to an already overburdened court system. Some first-time offenders are given the option to plead guilty to a lesser charge like driving while visibly impaired. Some jurisdictions, like Oakland County, have no reduced plea policies. If those resolutions are no longer available, Super OWI offenders will likely demand a trial and clog the system. Prosecutors often argue that if a plea is offered it undercuts the reason for the stiffer Super Drunk offense.
Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney with Expertise in Super Drunk Driving Offenses
The attorneys at the law firm of LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience representing people charged in criminal cases. We have access to the best resources to defend you, including experts to refute the tests that a police officer may have given you. It is important that you have the best representation available when your freedom is at stake. Please contact LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Information Form and one of our attorneys will contact you.