Penalties for a High BAC

Penalties for a High BAC

When I was arrested I took a breathalyzer test and had a BAC of .18. Are my penalties going to be any different because it was high?

- DM, Michigan


In October of 2010, the state of Michigan changed its laws on penalties for those that are found to have a higher Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level while driving. This came after Governor Jennifer Granholm signed in the changes on January 9, 2009. With these changes, harsher penalties are now issued to first time high BAC offenders. Increased repercussions can be deal with for those that are found with a BAC of .17 or more grams of alcohol for each 67 milliliters of urine, 210 liters of breath or 100 milliliters of blood. This crime falls into the category of "Driving While Intoxicated" but is a different definition of drinking and driving that is referred to as a "High BAC" or "Super Drunk" violation.

If convicted for a first offense with a BAC of .17 or over, the penalties can include a year suspension of your license, as much as 360 hours of community service, fines up to $700, six points on a driving record, a treatment program for a minimum of a year and a maximum of 180 days in jail. Some of these penalties are the same as a standard DWI, but the main areas that are different are jail time, educational or self-help programs and the license suspension. The first 45 days of the driver's license suspension will be a "hard" suspension, preventing you from having the option of driving at all. After that, you may be given a restricted license that will allow you to drive to certain locations, such as work, probation or school, but this will be with the use of the ignition interlock device. Having an ignition interlock device installed in your car will be an additional expense that you will be faced with.

It is best to fight the charges from the beginning so that you do not endure any of the penalties, let alone an increased sentence. In order for you to be convicted it will need to be shown that you were driving with alcohol in your system and at an increased BAC level. The main way that this can be shown is through the results of taking a chemical test, such as a breath test. Breathalyzers are not completely accurate and the devices that are used can malfunction. Other chemical tests can include a blood or urine test. Charges can be fought and there may be important details in your case that can allow for the charges against you to be reduced or dropped. Fill out a free case evaluation on our site and we can get started reviewing the details of your charges.

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