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Penalties for drunk driving in Michigan

Motorists in Michigan may benefit from reviewing the Secretary of State's outline of the terminology, laws and penalties concerning substance abuse and driving. The legal limit for blood alcohol content while driving in Michigan is .08 percent. Drivers registering .17 percent or above are considered to have a "high BAC" and may be subject to increased penalties. Motorists who commit a third drunk driving offense, or cause death or serious injury from drunk driving, may face felony charges.

Almost everyone who is convicted of operating while intoxicated in Michigan is required to pay $1,000 for two consecutive years as a Driver Responsibility Fee and $125 to get a driver's license reinstated if it was restricted, suspended or revoked. Impaired driving charges that include child endangerment or a drug offense add $500 to the responsibility fee each year. The minimum driver's license suspension is six months, but some drivers may be eligible to receive a restricted license after one month.

Penalties for first-time offenses include up to $500 in fines, up to 93 days in jail, potential ignition interlock device or vehicle immobilization, up to 360 hours of community service and six points on the driving record. Penalties for a high BAC include up to $700 in fines, up to six month in jail, a mandatory ignition interlock device and a one-year license suspension, eligible for a restricted use after 45 days. Third-time offenders may face up to five years in jail and $5,000 in fines, among other penalties.

People who have been accused of drunk driving in Michigan may benefit from meeting with a defense lawyer. Legal counsel is often successful in refuting charges by challenging the evidence presented by prosecution or the methods used by officers to make arrest. Lawyers may be able to help a drunk driving defendant obtain reduced charges, more lenient sentencing or even an acquittal.

Source: Michigan.gov, "Substance Abuse and Driving", August 15, 2014

Source: Michigan.gov, "Substance Abuse and Driving", August 15, 2014

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