In 2015, the state of Michigan added the Driving with a High BAC offense, or Michigan super drunk driving laws. It’s intended to discourage super drunk drivers and harshly punish those who operate a motor vehicle with a high blood alcohol content (BAC). If you’re facing charges, immediately speak with a DUI attorney who knows how to handle super drunk driving cases.
The super drunk offense isn’t always prosecuted by cities; however, it is prosecuted by county prosecutors.
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The maximum jail term for super drunk driving is two times a regular DUI offense; 180 days in jail maximum for a super drunk charge.
This doesn’t mean jail is mandatory, but it’s far more likely.
There’s also a maximum 360 hours of community service.
A super drunk driving conviction comes with enhanced penalties; one (1) year of a restricted license with the first 45 days of hard license suspension.
A breath alcohol device must also be used during the restricted driving privileges period (ex. ignition interlock device).
Is a BAC of .17 High?
While the legal limit is .08, the average BAC on a DUI case is approximately .12.
Therefore, a .15 BAC is considered high by most courts.
This means a .17 is considered to be extremely high, or super drunk driving.
It’s widely believed that a person can’t even reach that level without having a high alcohol tolerance.
There are even studies that prove this fact.
However, the court, prosecutor, and probation department will always believe that any person who blows that high is an alcoholic and therefore, a danger on the roads.
Defending a Super Drunk Driving Charge
Cases under Michigan Super Drunk Driving laws require a different strategy.
The chemical test must be evaluated differently.
Breath test instruments are calibrated at a .08 grams per 210 liters of breath standard.
They’re not calibrated at any other level.
Therefore, the higher the result, the less accurate the instrument’s response.
A result of .17 or higher holds a larger margin for error.
Therefore, a defense strategy by a DUI attorney will include evaluating the breath and blood test.
Also, evaluating the standard field sobriety tests is also vital to your case’s success.
If you passed the field sobriety tests, that’s direct evidence you didn’t have a high BAC.
Regardless of a person’s tolerance, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to do well on these tests.
Since the general belief is that chemical tests are accurate, prosecutors will not reduce a super drunk driving case to a reckless or careless driving charge if you don’t have a forensic lawyer-scientist by your side.
To successfully fight and save your driver’s license, it’s necessary to be able to demonstrate the chemical test isn’t reliable or was in error.
This can be done in a variety of ways, but generally only by a forensic lawyer-scientist.
How to Beat a Super Drunk Driving Charge