In late October 2010, a new law referred to as the “High Alcohol Enhanced Penalty Law” came into effect in the state of Michigan addressing a certain class of first time DUI offenders – specifically those with very high blood-alcohol content (BAC) readings. Known as Michigan’s Super Drunk OWI Law, or for short, “Super DUI,” this law imposes severe penalties on individuals convicted of a DUI with a BAC of 0.17 or greater. The penalties imposed for this Super DUI category of offenses are generally about twice as harsh as those for standard DUIs.
If you are now staring down a DUI charge, regardless of the BAC level involved, it’s important to have an experienced Lansing DUI attorney on your side who knows how to defend your rights and help you avoid as many of the severe consequences you are facing as possible. You can count on our team at DeBruin Law to fight vigorously on your behalf.
Call us today at (517) 324-4303 to request a free case evaluation.
The Super Drunk Law
Michigan’s Super Drunk OWI Law is only applicable to individuals with no previous DUI offenses within the prior seven years. Second offenders, regardless of BAC level, still face a second DUI offense category that does not fall under the Super DUI law – it is a different crime charged under another category of the law.
The DUI legal BAC limit in Michigan is 0.08 percent. As such, if you are charged under the Super Drunk law, the authorities believe you are operating a vehicle at more than two times the legal limit. This represents a very high level of alcohol in a person’s system. Science tells us that one unit of alcohol can increase the BAC level in an average size person’s body by about .025 percent. Therefore a 0.17 BAC can represent approximately six to eight alcoholic beverages a person’s system while driving. These amounts can vary depending on weight, body build, gender, and health conditions.
Penalties Under Michigan’s Super Drunk OWI Law
As stated, the penalties imposed for a Super DUI conviction in Michigan are approximately double those for regular OWI offenses. The criminal penalties you will face for an OWI charge with a BAC of 0.17 percent or higher include:
- Maximum 180 days jail time
- 45 days driver’s license suspension
- 320 days of restricted driving privileges after license suspension period
- Loss of six points on your driver’s license record
- Fines of $200 to $700
- Court costs from $500 to $1000
- Maximum 360 hours of community service
- Accident cleanup costs from $300 to $600
- Installation of ignition interlock device (must remain for duration of 320 day restricted driving period)
- Possible mandatory attendance at alcohol treatment program
- Driver responsibility fee of up to $1000 per year for two years
Michigan’s 320 Day Restricted License Period
Following the 45 day driver’s license suspension period, the Super DUI offender must enter into a 320 day period of restricted driving privileges. At that point in time, as the offender, you may only operate a vehicle with a restricted license which will include the requirement to have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed on any vehicle you intend to operate. With a restricted license, you may only operate and drive a vehicle to travel:
- To and from school, community service, and probation
- To and from employment and your residence
- During the course of employment
- To and from routinely scheduled medical treatments for a serious condition
- To or from drug or alcohol education or treatment programs
With a (BAIID) installed on your vehicle, you will be required to provide a device with a sample of your breath prior to starting the vehicle, as well as at certain intervals while you are operating the vehicle. If the BAC recorded by the device is higher than a certain level, you will not be able to operate the vehicle.
Additional Consequences of a Super Drunk Conviction in Michigan
Beyond the legal penalties mentioned above, the consequences of incurring a charge and conviction under Michigan’s Super Drunk OWI Law are quite extensive. For instance, due to your conviction you may be forced into paying higher insurance premiums. In some cases you could lose your insurance coverage. Your criminal record will show a conviction which may significantly hinder your ability to gain access to employment opportunities or retain a professional license.
As well, except in the case of certain low income drivers, you’ll be responsible for paying the full cost of the BAIID installation in addition to the required monthly fees accompanying the service. Installation fees may reach close to $50 and in some cases the monthly maintenance fee for the service may be as high as $100.
Contact an Experienced Michigan Super Drunk OWI Defense Attorney
Whether you’re facing a Super Drunk or standard OWI charge, the stakes for your freedom and future are on the line. Our experienced attorneys at DeBruin Law know how to challenge the prosecution’s case and build a strong defense for our clients. We’ll stand as your vigorous advocates in order to fight for the best possible outcome on your behalf.
Contact us today at (517) 324-4303, or contact us online to set up a free, no obligation consultation.