When a Michigan driver is stopped in his or her vehicle by law enforcement, investigated for drunk driving and then arrested, it is important to understand the nature of the charges. An example of when there might be harsher penalties for a driving under the influence or operating while intoxicated (DUI/OWI) is if the driver has a high blood-alcohol content. When arrested, it is imperative to differentiate between a high BAC and lower BAC charges.
The BAC is tested with a Breathalyzer or a blood test. If the driver registers .08%, it is sufficient for a DUI arrest. However, if the driver is tested and the result is considered a “high” BAC, there will be worse penalties than for a lower-level DUI. A BAC of .17% is more than twice the legal limit. It is a misdemeanor charge, but it carries with it various penalties including up to six months in jail, a fine of between $200 and $700, the requirement to perform as much as 360 hours of community service, and a driver’s license suspension of one year.
A driver might be allowed to have a restricted driver’s license 45 days after the suspension. An ignition interlock device may be needed to ensure the driver does not drink before getting behind the wheel. This driver must blow into the device before the vehicle will start and intermittently take the test while driving to ensure there was no drinking of alcohol in the interim. This device can only be installed for vehicle use in certain circumstances including allowing the driver to go from home to work and to use it while working; to go to and from alcohol education and treatment; to go to and from a facility to receive treatment for a medical issue; and to go to and from school, community service and probation.
Any DUI/OWI charge can be considered problematic. If the charges are for a high BAC, they are worse. While the situation can seem difficult, there are strategies to lodge a defense to avoid the worst penalties or even be acquitted. Perhaps the investigation was faulty, the machine was malfunctioning, or the officer made a mistake that rendered the evidence inadmissible. Discussing the case with an experienced legal professional can be a key factor in a successful outcome. Calling for advice and guidance may be essential when charged with drunk driving.