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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
For more information email: info@clarkstonlegal.com

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Michigan's Super Drunk Law After Six Months

It's still too early to tell if Michigan's new "Super Drunk" driving law is having an effect on making our roadways safer.  The law took effect last November.

Some following the law have noted that due to plea deals, many convicted of this law are going to rehab rather than jail.  One of the provisions of the law was to double the jail term from 90 to 180 days for convicted super drunk drivers.

According to Eaton County district judge Harvey Hoffman, an early proponent of the new law, more folks are jumping into sobriety courts, or extended rehabilitation programs.   Judge Hoffman cites chronic jail overcrowding as a chief factor in sentencing super drunks to rehabilitation over a six-month jail bit.

Of course, here in Oakland County, there is no such thing as a plea bargain and the prosecutor no longer participates in district sobriety courts.  If you are charged under the Super Drunk law, you will not get an offer to reduce the charge to impaired driving, even if it is your first offense.  Your fate will be in the hands of your sentencing judge.

By comparison, the Eaton County prosecutor has a new policy in super drunk cases of approving a plea reduction to impaired in exchange for the accused's assent to enter into a sobriety court program, forcing the offender to come to terms with their drinking problem. 

The 0.17 blood alcohol level which triggers the new law is not an outrageously high BAC.  On average, the BAC of an arrested driver is 0.16; very close to the super drunk threshold.

So the best thing to do is simply stay off the roads when you've had too much to drink; that way, we're all safer.  If you cannot do that, go on ebay and purchase a "Big Blue Book" as a compulsory 12-step program may be in your future.

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