Michigan Super Drunk Law In Action
Drinking is a popular pastime in March and April in Michigan as there numerous festivities including St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness, spring break, and April’s “Drink Michigan,” the state’s official month of wine. Police put out extra patrols during these months as bars tend to do a brisk business. In March alone, police reported a statewide tally of 2,271 drunken driving arrests, nearly 30 percent of which fell into the “super drunk” category.
The Michigan Super Drunk law went into effect this year. This law raises penalties for offenders whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .17 or higher and who have a prior drunk driving conviction. This level is over twice the legal limit of .08.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Eileen Kowall, seeks to send a message to those who have a problem and keep driving. “Repeat drunk driving offenders are four times as likely to get into a fatal crash than unimpaired drivers, so we must do all we can to keep these dangerous drivers off the road,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “By increasing the penalties for such offenses, we can send a clear message that repeat drunk driving will not be tolerated in our state.”
If convicted of being Super Drunk, offenders face up to 180 days in jail, a $700 fine plus costs, and up to two years’ probation. If convicted there is a one year mandatory treatment and/or AA. A restricted driver’s license is required for one year with an ignition interlock device after 45 days of no driving. Six points are also added to the offender’s driving record.
An ignition interlock device ensures that drivers cannot drink and drive. This breathalyzer device is connected to the ignition of the car. The driver must blow into the device and register below the state mandated level in order for the car to start.
Using the ignition interlock device, in conjunction with Michigan’s DWI Courts, have proven effective in keeping offenders sober, while still allowing them to be responsible to their jobs and families.