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You may have seen the road signs around town reminding us of the sad and persistent fact that 30 percent of serious car accidents involve alcohol. So, what does that mean legally? How does the law treat alcohol use in personal injury cases? Grand Rapids auto accident attorney, Tom Sinas, gives us a basic overview in this week’s segment.
Michigan has a zero-tolerance rule for drivers under the age of 21, meaning it is illegal to have any amount of alcohol in the system. For drivers over the age of 21, operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher in Michigan is a crime. The criminal penalties for drunk driving increase with each offense. The first two offenses result in a misdemeanor, and three or more offenses result in a felony.
If you injure or kill someone while drinking and driving, it automatically becomes a felony charge. While a drunk driving accident that causes injury results in a five-year felony charge, an accident that causes death results in a 10-year felony charge:
- Driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher: first two offenses are a misdemeanor, 3+ offenses are a felony
- Driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher resulting in injury: 5-year felony
- Driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher causing death: 10-year felony
Michigan law defines the term “super drunk” as blood alcohol of 0.17 or more. When you are pulled over at this level penalties are harsher, such as increased jail time, more fines, and a longer suspension of your driver’s license.
When you operate a vehicle in Michigan, you are implicitly consenting to have