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.