An early morning crash into a tree has left a Kalamazoo man behind bars for "super drunk" driving. At about 1 a.m. on Nov. 15, Van Buren County sheriffs responded to the accident in Antwerp Township, near Kalamazoo. The man, whose blood alcohol content (BAC) registered at 0.17 - more than twice the legal limit - is now facing a felony charge of operating while intoxicated (OWI) third offense.
When sheriffs arrived at the accident scene, the driver admitted that he had had too much to drink and that he had fallen asleep at the wheel. He is currently being held at the Van Buren County Jail facing these felony charges. He suffered no injuries from the crash.
Michigan has a "super drunk" law that punishes driver harshly when their BAC registers at 0.17 or above. The man potentially also faces increased penalties because this could be his third alcohol-related offense, if he is convicted. As a result, he could face many penalties, including up to five years of jail time, fines ranging from $500 to $5,000 and between one and six months of community service. The judge may also revoke the person's driver's license, confiscate the person's vehicle and license plate and deny the ability to register the vehicle.
However, it is important to remember that the man is innocent until proven guilty. There are many defenses that the man could use in his drunk driving case. For example, he could claim that the equipment used to measure his BAC was malfunctioning or was operated improperly by law enforcement officials. All those charged with a crime must be informed of their rights. Another possible defense may exist if the police officer failed to do so in this case
Source: Kalamazoo Gazette, "Kalamazoo man arrested on 'super drunk' driving charges after crashing car into tree in Antwerp Township," Aaron Mueller, Nov. 15, 2012