By: R. Thomas BIdari
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Michigan’s Drunk Driving Laws, Explained
Everyone intends to be a responsible driver, but many people don’t realize that they may be in violation of Michigan’s drunk driving laws. If you drink and drive, keep in mind the following: If you are pulled over and smell of alcohol, the police officer is going to suspect you are a drunk driver. You may not think you’re drunk, but the officer is going to immediately gather evidence against you to prove that you are intoxicated or impaired.
The officer will ask you where you have been, and what and how much you had to drink. You will be asked to perform field sobriety tests, then blow into a hand-held breathalyzer. You do not have to answer those questions or agree to perform those tests. In other words, you do not have to help the police build a drunk driving case against you at the roadside traffic stop. Your refusal to cooperate roadside is only punishable by a fine; you will not lose your license.
However, if the officer arrests you and takes you to the police station for a breathalyzer, you must comply; otherwise your license can be suspended for one year with no restricted driving privileges and six points will be added to your driving record. Also, the police will seek a subpoena from a judge compelling you to submit to a blood test at the hospital.
Michigan considers anyone with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more to be drunk. Drivers may still be arrested and charged with impaired driving; however, the law no longer has a blood alcohol content associated with impaired. Those with a BAC of over .17 may be charged under the new super-drunk driving law, which has more severe penalties.
What happens if you are convicted
A first-time offender convicted of operating while intoxicated (OWI) faces up to:
- 93 days in jail
- $500 fine
- 360 hours of community service
- 6 points on your driver’s license
- 180 days with a suspended license, with a restricted license possible after 30 days
Always be sure to drink responsibly. However, if you are charged with driving while intoxicated, don’t make another mistake by not consulting with an experienced attorney. Call the Law Offices of R. Thomas Bidari, P.C. at 734-283-5100.