Michigan's Super-Drunk Driving Law

by: Mike Miller

If you live in Michigan and are caught driving under the influence (DUI) you may be facing much tougher penalties if you are totally wasted.  Recently the Michigan State Legislature passed a “Super-Drunk Driving” law which toughens the penalties if your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) shows you are more than double the legal limit.

Double The Limit – Double The Punishment

The seven-month-old law doubles the amount of possible jail time to 180 days and includes a full one year of alcohol rehabilitation course.  Since it has been enacted it appears judges are not doling out the longer prison sentences, but are strictly enforcing the year-long rehab course.  The primary reason extended jail time is not being given is due to severe over-crowding in state prisons.

"You aren't seeing more people go to jail for longer periods of time," said Eaton County District Judge Harvey Hoffman, who was a proponent of the new law. "People are more readily putting themselves into those (alcohol rehabilitation) programs. I think in the long run it might be very beneficial."

So far 39 people have been charged under the new law, with 33 able to plead down to lesser charges.  The countywide sobriety court gives offenders an aggressive, tailored program for recovery and requires an in-court review by a judge, probation officer and treatment official about every two weeks.

It should be interesting to follow the recidivism rates among the drivers who go through this program.