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Michigan’s Drunk Driving Laws Explained

Everyone intends to be responsible and most people don’t realize that they may be in violation of Michigan’s drunk driving laws. If you drink and drive and are stopped by a police officer, keep in mind the following: If you smell of alcohol, the police officer is going to suspect you are a drunk driver. You may not think you’re drunk, but the officer is going to immediately gather evidence against you to prove that you are intoxicated or impaired.


 The officer will ask you where you have been, and what and how much you had to drink. Next, you will be asked to perform field sobriety tests or to blow into a handheld breathalyzer. You do not have to answer those questions or agree to perform those tests. In other words, you do not have to help the police build a drunk driving case against you at the roadside traffic stop. Your refusing to cooperate roadside is only punishable by a fine; you will not lose your license.

 However, if the officer arrests you and takes you to the police station for a breathalyzer, you must comply; otherwise your license can be suspended for one year with no restricted driving privileges and you will get six points on your driving record. Also, the police will seek a subpoena from a judge compelling you to submit to a blood test.

Michigan considers anyone with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more to be drunk. Drivers may still be arrested and charged with impaired driving; however, the law no longer has a blood alcohol content associated with impaired.

 What happens if you are convicted

 A first-time offender convicted of drunk driving faces up to:

  • 93 days in jail
  • A $500 fine
  • 360 hours of community service
  • 6 points on a driver's license
  • 180 days with a suspended license, with a restricted license possible after 30 days

Convicted drunk drivers will also be subject to a $1,000 penalty that was included in a recently approved driver responsibility program. The penalty will be imposed for two consecutive years. Those convicted of impaired driving face a $500 penalty assessed for two consecutive years.

Always be sure to drink responsibly. However, if you are charged with driving while intoxicated, don’t make another mistake by not consulting with an experienced attorney. Call the Law Offices of R. Thomas Bidari, P.C. at 734-283-5100.

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