In 2003 there were 340 deaths related to drinking and driving. The legislature acted to lower the BAC threshold for drinking and driving from .10 to .08. By 2011, drinking and driving related deaths had dropped to 253. The law lowering the limit was originally temporary. It would have reverted back to .10 on October 1st. The Senate unanimously voted to retain the .08 threshold. This was not entirely unexpected based on the relatively recent passage of the “Superdrunk” law. It seems the Michigan legislature aims to take a hard line with respect to drinking and driving offenses across the board. If you or someone you know is charged with a drinking and driving offense, it could have serious repercussions with respect to driving privileges and your criminal record. An experienced attorney can minimize this effect.
Late last month, a 47 year old man who had been drinking decided he had some pressing errands that couldn’t wait for him to sober up. Whether a lawnmower is Mr. Walton’s vehicle of choice, or he was trying to avoid drinking and driving is unknown, but he fired up his lawnmower to head to the store. Police spotted the lawn mower parked at a local store, observed him exiting and begin to drive it. Upon determining Mr. Walton was intoxicated the police pulled him over and he was promptly arrested for felony drinking and driving. As the original article notes “Michigan law doesn’t care whether it’s a lawn mower or a Lamborghini, if you drive a motor vehicle while intoxicated” you are subject to arrest for drinking and driving. Pursuant to Michigan law, any vehicle with a motor is covered. If you or someone you know has been charged with a drinking and driving offense of ANY kind contact Garmo & Kiste, PLC, for assistance in these matters call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. We are experienced Michigan attorneys with offices in Troy, MI.
If you have ever been pulled over and suspected of drinking and driving, you might know there are a series of tests officers administer prior to the BAC known as field sobriety testing. This can include walking heel to toe, saying the alphabet backwards, and or following an object with your eyes and not your head tests (HGN). While in the past I had thought this was only to see if you were able to directions, it turns out there is a biological reason behind the last test. If you have not been drinking (absent some major neurological disorders), your eyeball will pan across a landscape following object at a consistent pace. If you have been drinking though, it will jump from frame to frame across your field of vision. Think of it like the difference between a continuously variable transmission and stick gear shifting. As such, it is impossible to mask this biological reaction. On the other hand, the interpretation of this result is entirely up to the officer so there is very little way to independently confirm the officer’s findings. If you have gotten this far in the process though, there is probably other evidence that is sufficient to uphold your DUI absent extenuating circumstances. Very, very few DUI/OWI/OWVI/DWI offenses get overturned entirely. At this point, it is best for you to focus on minimizing the consequences through strong representation. An experienced attorney knows the ins and outs of metro Detroit courts, various judge’s proclivities, and can work to negotiate a lenient plea agreement and sentence for you.
What is Michigan’s BAC Limit? Recently the Michigan Legislature acted to prevent state BAC limits from reverting back to .10, keeping the limit at .08. To allow otherwise would have rendered Michigan ineligible for significant federal highway funding which is tied to the lower BAC limit. The National Transportation Safety Board issues safety regulations, many of which have become law. Their victories include lowering the limit to .08 in the first place, and raising the drinking age from 18 to 21. They have decided to make their next fight lowering the BAC limit again, this time to .05. Citing Australia and Ireland who have lowered their rates to .05, the NTSB states that the US is practically alone in having such a high BAC limit. They allege that Australia saw 8%-18% reduction in drunken driving deaths. That seems like a fairly large margin of error.
For your reference here is a map of BAC limits around the world.
It seems if this were really such a problem, we would be hearing a lot of anecdotal evidence of people being pulled over, breathalyzed, and blowing between .05 and .08. In our experience, this is pretty rare. Most clients who have been arrested for Drinking and Driving offenses blow at least a .10, plausibly because until that point of inebriation driving impairment is not often visible.