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Drunk Driving: The Penalties & Consequences Behind Your Actions

It’s no secret that drinking and driving is illegal in almost all of the United States. But, how aware are you of the laws pertaining to this topic? Whether you’re driving a motorcycle, vehicle, or boat, Michigan has strict drunk driving laws that everyone should abide by. 

Drinking and driving can not only impact your life—mandatory community service, jail time, hefty fines—but can impact those around you. To help you stay alert and aware of the laws enforced in Michigan, here’s everything you need to know about drunk driving laws in Michigan.

Juvenile Drunk Driving Laws in Michigan

For those under the age of 21, Michigan operates a zero-tolerance policy. If an individual has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over 0.02% but under 0.08%, they can be charged with an operating while intoxicated (OWI) charge. 

First-time offenders will receive up to 360 hours of community service, a $250 fine, and a suspended or restricted license for up to 30 days. Second offenses may warrant up to 90 days of jail time, a $500 fine, and up to 60 days of community service. The one exception to this is if you have a blood alcohol content of less than 0.08% and you can prove that your alcohol level was due to a religious event.

How Drunk Driving Laws Change for over 21s

If you are over 21 and are found to be driving with a BAC of over 0.08%, you can face up to 93 days of jail time (the equivalent of a second offense for a minor). However, the penalty becomes more severe if you are found to have a BAC of over 0.17%. This ‘Super Drunk’ law means that you are subject to up to 180 days in jail, a $700 fine, and a one-year suspended license. After your third offense, your charge goes from a misdemeanor to a felony charge. If you are facing an OWI/ DUI, you should immediately consult a criminal defense attorney to help minimize or avoid the risk of criminal charges.

What If I Injure Someone While Under The Influence?

If you injure or hurt someone while driving, this will immediately become a felony charge. If you injure someone while driving, criminal charges can be up to five years in jail, while a fatality can result in up to 10 years of jail time. It is essential that you hire a criminal defense attorney if you injure someone while under the influence of alcohol. 

What Happens If I Was Caught Driving After Taking Drugs?

Individuals who are caught driving under the influence of a Schedule I controlled substance are subject to the same fines as those with alcohol in their bloodstream. If you have a medical marijuana card, the officer must prove beyond a doubt that it is the marijuana that has affected your driving.

Compliance Is Key

If you are caught driving under the influence, you should comply with the officer that has stopped your vehicle. Refusing a breathalyzer test automatically carries a one-year suspended license, which goes up to two years if you refuse a test again within a seven-year time frame. If your vehicle is stopped, remain calm, and call a criminal defense attorney like the law offices of Raymond A. Cassar immediately.

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