A report from Michigan recently called attention to states and their special penalties for those arrested with high blood alcohol levels. The story, out of Detroit, concerned a man who was accused of hitting a teenager who had just gotten off a school bus.
Police apprehended Daniel Florance, 33, and discovered that he had what might charitably be described as a lengthy criminal record. According to police sources, Florance has five prior convictions for drunk driving in the state and eight instances of driving with a suspended license. A check of his motor vehicle record discovered a grand total of 30 separate instances of Florance having his driver’s license suspended. The man also has two felony drug convictions on his record along with a handful of charges from his years as a youth offender.
Police say that Florance ran into the teen who was trying to walk around the front of the school bus before crashing his car into a nearby tree. When police arrived and arrested Florance, a chemical test determined that he had a BAC of 0.326, more than four times the legal limit in Michigan. He has since been charged with a long list of offenses, including drunk driving and reckless driving and is in jail on $1 million bond.
When Florance was arrested, his BAC was just shy of double the level needed to be subject to extra penalties under Michigan’s “super drunk” DUI law. Such heightened penalties for those with the most egregious instances of drunk driving are not to Michigan and are instead part of a nationwide trend. The push in recent years has resulted in state legislatures across the country ratcheting up the punishment for those arrested with especially high blood alcohol levels.
Michigan’s “super drunk” law says that even first time offenders who are arrested and found to have a BAC greater than 0.17% will be subject to increased legal penalties. Those drivers with a previous conviction who are then arrested with a BAC over 0.17%, like Florance, face enhanced penalties above and beyond those contained in the “super drunk” law.
In Michigan, ordinary drunk driving cases (those where BAC is less than 0.17%), drivers face a potential 93 days in jail. If the BAC level tops 0.17% however, that maximum jail time jumps up to 180 days. Super drunk cases also have increased driver’s license suspension times. In ordinary cases, drivers could face 30 days with no driving and 150 days with restricted driving, super drunk drivers face 45 days no driving and 320 days on restriction. Another difference is that in Michigan those arrested under the super drunk law must also have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle during any restricted driving period.
In Michigan, the fines for super drunk violations are also considerably higher. Traditional cases see fines between $100 and $500, while super drunk charges result in $200 to $700 in fines.
Again, Michigan is not alone in passing laws that punish those with enhanced BACs especially harshly. Minnesota has its own enhanced BAC penalties. Under Minnesota law, those who are arrested with a BAC greater than 0.20% face immediately confiscation of their driver’s license and vehicle. This elevated blood alcohol concentration is also viewed under the law as an aggravating factor when punishment is determined. Those arrested with a BAC greater than 0.20% in Minnesota need to understand that rather than face only misdemeanor charges, the lowest criminal penalty possible will be a gross misdemeanor charge given the addition of the aggravating factor. The lowest such charge would be third-degree DWI which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $3,000 fine. This compares to a misdemeanor fourth-degree DWI charge which comes with a maximum 90 days behind bars and a $1,000 fine.
Penalties for those who face high BAC charges are severe and in some cases oppressively punitive. It’s critical in such cases to have a capable Minnesota drunk driving attorney on your side who understands the ins and outs of the legal process.
Source: article published at WXYZ.com.