Know the Law – Drunk Driving Laws

DUI Breathalyzer

The holiday season is here, which means holiday celebrations where alcohol will likely be served. If you consume even just a few alcoholic beverages, the best decision is not to drive yourself home. Instead, have a friend or colleague take you home or call a taxi service.

In Michigan, it is illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. If you are charged with driving under the influence (DUI), the first two offenses are considered misdemeanors, which will get you probation and rather strict monitoring by the court but little jail time unless you violate the terms of your probation.

However, a third drunk-driving offense is a different story. A third DUI is considered a felony. This means you will serve a minimum of one year in jail and will have your license suspended for five years.

Also, Michigan now has a “super drunk driving” law. This law imposes stiffer penalties if you’re caught driving with a blood-alcohol level of .17 percent or higher, no matter whether it’s a first or second offense. These harsher penalties include:

Up to 180 days in jail (rather than 93 days)
A fine of $200-$700 (rather than $100 – $500)
A one-year license suspension (rather than six months)
Extra hours of community service
From start to finish, a DUI conviction will ultimately cost you more than $10,000. This price tag includes court-imposed fines and fees, counseling programs, required drug/alcohol testing during probation, and the ignition interlock device that must be installed on your vehicle to drive once your driving privileges are restored.

In addition, if you are convicted of drunk driving, your auto insurance rates will certainly skyrocket.

What if you injure someone while drinking and driving? Then you have a committed a five-year felony. In addition to jail time, the fine for this offense ranges from $1,000-$5,000. Other penalties include vehicle forfeiture and mandatory vehicle immobilization.

If you kill a person while drinking and driving, it is a more serious felony. The penalty is a maximum of 15 years in jail, a $2,500-$10,000 fine, as well as vehicle forfeiture and mandatory vehicle immobilization.

Civil liability is also possible in cases of drunk driving causing death or injury. Michigan courts have upheld restitution to the victim and/or the victim’s family in both situations.


Michigan is Lenient on DUI?

Michigan amoung states most lenient on DUI.

Michigan is relatively easy on those who have been charged with DUI.

According to a report released by the personal finance website Wallethub on Aug. 10, Michigan is the 9th most lenient state when it comes to punishing those guilty of DUI.

Wallethub analysts compared drunk driving penalties in all 50 states and Washington D.C. to compile the list.

Michigan received a cumulative score of 30.91%, just behind Vermont and just ahead of Pennsylvania. A DUI isn’t considered a felony until the 3rd offense in Michigan, which has no minimum jail time on the 1st conviction and just 5 days on the 2nd.

Old DUIs only factor into new panalties for seven years, whereas life or 15 years is the standard in some states.

Michigan also has relatively lean fines for DUI and its average insurance rate increase after DUI is 9%, according to the report.

Arizona has the harshest DUI penalties, including long jail times while South Dakota is the most lenient on drunk drivers thanks to no mandatory jail time.

Here are some fast facts about DUI in America, according to Wallethub

  • The average fine for 1st DUI ($352) is higher than an Uber fare from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia
  • You could get all the way to New York with the average fine of a 2nd DUI ($762)
  • All but 6 states can automatically suspend the license of someone arrested for DUI, even before court involvement.
  • 88% of states require offenders to equip their vehicles with ignition interlock devices after DUI.
  • Repeat offenders spend an average of nearly 3 weeks longer in jail than first-time offenders.
  • Alchohol-abuse assessment and/or treatment is mandatory after a DUI conviction in 37 states, including Michigan.
  • DUI offenses stay on your criminal record for at least 6 years in 84% of states, but they remain for life in 5 states.
  • On average, red, conservative-leaning states have tougher DUI laws than blue states, which rank, on average, 5 spots lower.

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Get Help With Your DUI/OWI

If you have been arrested on a DUI charge in Oakland County, please reach out to The Law Offices of Derrick E. George, P.C. for help. Unlike other traffic related charges, which might be worth fighting without a lawyer, conviction for a DUI/OWI has serious consequences, especially if the incident involved injury to people or property, or if it’s your second or subsequent DUI. To avoid or reduce the consequences, your best bet is to find an attorney who is knowledgeable about Michigan’s laws and about how the system works in your District’s court.

GETTING TO KNOW: Derrick E. George, Esq.

Attorney Derrick George has served hundreds of individuals and business owners from Detroit and Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne counties, with a broad variety of legal matters, and has won hundreds of cases.

George, a resident of Birmingham, holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, a master’s degree from Columbia University, and his law degree from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law. While in Colorado, he served as a judicial law clerk for two major judges, and did contract legal work with high-level U.S. Fortune 500 companies. After law school, George returned to Michigan, and opened his private law practice in Birmingham. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, American Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, Oakland County Bar Association, and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

His background in business prior to law school includes management of large investment funds in New York City, and media experience with ABC World News Tonight, Nightline, and 20/20.
By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

What would surprise people about your job?
How much skill outside of legal knowledge this job demands. After 10 years of practicing law, I have realized that to really be successful at it I need to be business-minded, act as a consultant, problem solve, be compassionate and sympathize with people, negotiate, act as a liaison between multiple parties, build relationships AND have implicit knowledge of the law.

Why did you become a lawyer?
I already had a graduate degree and was working in commercial real estate development when my dad, who was a business owner, asked me to become a lawyer and offered to help me get through law school. Reason being he felt he couldn’t find an attorney who would consistently have his back and when you own your own business, you are often faced with problems that need to be handled by or with the help of attorneys. That resonated with me. I get it—lawyers are something people don’t want but need, and they should make you feel and prove to you that they believe in you and have your best interests as their primary focus.

What’s your favorite law-related TV show, movie, and/or book?
I love anything O.J. Simpson trial related. It is so interesting to learn about the strategies the prosecution and defense deployed.

Who are your law role models – real and/or fictional?
Johnny Cochran had a lot of flair that you can’t often bring into this profession. So from an entertainment standpoint I like his style. It’s not something I can necessarily implement into my own cases, but he was one of the most creative attorneys I have seen.

If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be?
Jimmy Fallon or any Michigan Supreme Court justice.

What advice do you have for someone considering law school?
Be the best in whichever school you choose, pass the bar, and start getting the practice. Being successful comes from jumping in and doing it.

What’s your proudest moment as a lawyer?
At my first trial, I obtained a “not guilty” verdict after a five-day trial for a 20-year felony my client was incarcerated for.

What do you do to relax?
Catch up on my sleep although that’s hard now that my wife and I have a baby! I love being outside when the weather is warm and when I can spare the time, a vacation is the ultimate way to relax.

What do you wish someone would invent?
I see all these amazing baby things now like electronic swings and strollers and I wouldn’t mind if they came in adult versions.

What other career path might you have chosen?
I have owned successful companies and was adept in the commercial real estate business so I could see either of those continuing if I hadn’t done law.

What would you say to your 16-year-old self?
Stop playing quarters in the alley of the Chinese restaurant.

Favorite local hangouts?
Phoenicia and Bistro Joe’s and Wright and Company are some of my favorites.

Favorite websites?
Amazon, CNN.

Favorite app?
Facebook, Instagram or Avvo to check on my client testimonials—LOL.

Favorite music?
Really anything but country music.

What is your happiest childhood memory?
First family trip to Boyne.

What is your most treasured material possession?
A 1978 vintage Rolex.

What has been your favorite year so far and why?
It has to be 2017. I have a kid now!

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been?
Maui, Hawaii for two weeks with my wife on our honeymoon. I also traveled extensively to Brazil and China and there are some amazing spots.

If you could have one super power, what would it be?
The ability to fly because it would make taking vacations way easier.

What’s one thing you would like to learn to do?
I would like to learn how to sail.

What is something most people don’t know about you?
I’m of Chaldean descent. No one would ever guess because of the red hair. That, and I can quote every line from the Chevy Chase movie “Fletch.”

If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be?
Martin Luther King Jr., Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Jimmy Kimmel

What’s the best advice you ever received?
Don’t lose sight.

Favorite way to spend money?
On travel.

What is your motto?
Learn from the past, plan for the future by focusing on today.

Which living person do you most admire?
Warren Buffett.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
I’m answering this question fresh off of having a baby so I would have to say that, and marrying my wife.

What is the most unusual thing you have done?
I met my wife on October 5 and asked her to marry me on October 31. That seems pretty unusual. Although the more people I tell that story to, the more I learn others have had similar relationship paths. When you know, you know.

What is one of your future goals?
I plan to write a book about my business experiences and share the injustices I have discovered within our not-so-perfect system. After my dad died at age 52, I started a consumer product company right out of law school, with nothing more than an idea and a 10K loan from my grandma at 8 percent interest. I got sued by a Forbes-listed billionaire as a strategy to take out his competition—the billionaire figures you hose the small guy down with legal technicalities and tie them up in court they will eventually go out of business, cheaper than acquiring them and a way around anti-trust law. I figure I must have been doing something right.


Get Help With Your DUI/OWI

If you have been arrested on a DUI charge in Oakland County, please reach out to us for help. Unlike other traffic related charges, which might be worth fighting without a lawyer, conviction for a DUI/OWI has serious consequences, especially if the incident involved injury to people or property, or if it’s your second or subsequent DUI. To avoid or reduce the consequences, your best bet is to find an attorney who is knowledgeable about Michigan’s laws and about how the system works in your District’s court.


Located in Birmingham, Michigan The Law Offices of Derrick E. George, P.C. offers dependable law services to get the best possible outcome for your case. The Law Offices of Derrick E. George, P.C. will help with cases involving a comprehensive array of legal matters and offers experience amassed from years of legal experience and numerous cases. For help in legal matters of Criminal defense, Family Law, or Business Law call attorney Derrick George today. Localities served – Ann Arbor – Auburn Hills – Berkley – Beverly Hills – Birmingham – Bloomfield Hills – Bloomfield Township – Brighton – Canton – Clarkston – Clinton Township – Commerce Township – Davisburg – Dearborn Heights – Farmington – Farmington Hills – Fenton – Ferndale – Franklin – Green Oak Township – Grosse Pointe – Grosse Pointe Farms – Grosse Pointe Shores – Grosse Pointe Woods – Hamburg – Hartland – Highland – Howell – Keego Harbor – Lake Angelus – Livonia – Lyon Township – Milford – New Hudson – Northville – Novi – Orchard Lake – Pinkney – Pleasant Ridge – Plymouth – Rochester – Rochester Hills – Roseville – Royal Oak – Shelby Township – South Lyon – St. Claire Shores – Sterling Heights – Troy – Utica – Walled Lake – Waterford – West Bloomfield – White Lake – Whitmore Lake – Wixom – Wolverine Lake.