Do you have the ignition interlock system in Michigan? Does everyone have to have one if they’ve been charged with a DUI?
We do use interlock devices in Michigan. The only people who are required to have them with DUI cases or OWI cases are those convicted of violating the “super drunk” law. This means that you’re charged with high BAC, and that’s for people who blow 0.17 or above on the Datamaster. In those cases, they’re required to have an interlock device after they’re suspended for 45 days.
There are some judges who order people to have interlock devices on first offense DUIs now, and in the sobriety court programs for people who have two or more DUIs, they are required as well. There is more and more use of interlock devices in DUI cases in Michigan.
I just want to talk a little bit about aggravated or enhanced DUIs. What is the correct terminology in Michigan?
There are a number of different potential charges you can get. Like I just mentioned, there is what’s commonly called the “super drunk” law, which is technically written up as high BAC. Those are for particularly high blood alcohol levels and those can be on a first, second, or third offense. There are also what we call second or subsequent offenses where someone has two DUIs within 7 years or 3 or more within their lifetime, which is a felony charge. You also have other charges related to OWI that involve an accident. You might have an OWI causing a serious impairment of a bodily function, which is an accident where somebody was significantly injured. Then you can have an OWI causing death, which is a felony, and sometimes it even gets charged as second degree murder.
So there are a number of different types of OWIs depending on the facts and circumstances. The big difference is whether or not the blood alcohol level was excessively high, or whether there was an accident with injuries, or if the person has multiple DUIs on their record already.
What if there were minors in the car? How is that addressed in Michigan?
Typically, if there are minors in the car during a DUI, it gets charged under the Michigan child endangerment laws. The requirements there are exactly similar to DUI, except there is an added element of there being a minor in the car. The difference is that the penalties are tougher, and so those are called child endangerment cases. They still count as an OWI as well, even though they might be called a child endangerment case.
How often are you able to have these enhanced OWI charges reduced to a less serious offense? What factors might determine whether or not you can do that?
We’ve had many cases where we’ve been able to reduce them down to regular OWI and even impaired driving sometimes. One factor that matters is the jurisdiction where this occurs; some are more open to hearing about the good side of your client than others. From a more technical standpoint, fighting those cases and being able to develop an argument that, at the time the person was operating the vehicle, their blood alcohol level was probably below that cut-off range for “super drunk” has also been a successful strategy for us. We’ve been able to convince the prosecutor that maybe the person was under the limit when they were driving and their blood alcohol level was still rising when they were stopped, and therefore, they blew a higher number than what they would have at the scene.
For more information on ignition interlock and enhanced DUI in Michigan, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (248) 451-2200 today.