FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-11-26
Many drivers convicted of driving while intoxicated have a high blood alcohol concentration. Even just a few drinks in an hour can put a driver over the legal limit to drive, which is .08 percent in all 50 states. However, a significant number of drunk driving convictions stem from incidents where a driver is more than twice the legal limit to drive.
In an attempt to target such high BAC drivers, Michigan adopted a so-called “Super Drunk” law, which increases the fines and penalties associated with a DWI if the driver has a BAC of 0.17 or higher. A driver’s BAC can be measured by breath, blood or urine tests.
Penalties for a Super Drunk Offense
Instead of the usual penalties, drivers convicted of a High BAC offense face:
- Up to 180 days in jail
- Up to a $700 fine
- Up to 360 hours of community service
- A one-year license suspension
These penalties are often double those of a driver convicted for a DWI with a BAC of .08 to .16. For example, the maximum jail time for a first-time DWI conviction below .17 is 93 days in jail.
Other factors can dramatically influence potential penalties. For example, if there are minor children in the car when the DWI arrest occurred, the driver can face child endangerment charges, which carries up to a year in jail.
Restricted Driving Privileges
It is possible for a driver convicted under Michigan’s Super Drunk law to obtain a restricted license after an automatic 45-day license suspension. This requires the driver to use an ignition interlock device whenever driving in any car. An IID prevents a car from starting if the driver has any alcohol on his or her breath. While the vehicle is operational the driver must blow into the device at regular intervals to ensure the driver hasn’t been drinking. The IID must remain in the vehicle for the length of the one-year suspension.
Installation of an IID, at the cost of the driver, gives the driver a restricted license. A restricted license allows a driver to operate a vehicle, but only for work purposes, drug and alcohol treatment programs, medical appointments, probation, community service and school.
Help With DWI Charges
It can be difficult in the wake of a DWI conviction to get to work, drive children to school and perform other necessary tasks. Michigan residents who are facing DWI charges should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss options on how best to mitigate potential penalties.