The holidays are a time for family and friends to gather in and around Michigan. Food and drinks fill the tables as the jolly festivities come to fruition. But the yearly celebration often comes with the inevitable consumption of alcohol. That’s why it’s important for Michigan residents – and those visiting – to drive responsibly this holiday season. The consequences of driving while under the influence of alcohol can be devastating.
Operating a vehicle while drunk greatly increases the risk of causing a serious, and potentially fatal, car wreck. Additionally, you can be pulled over and charged with driving under the influence – even for the smallest mishap.
Law Enforcement Will Be Out in Full Force
When it comes to drunk driving, Michigan law enforcement officers don’t mess around. This holiday season, local and state police will be out in full force - on the pursuit for impaired drivers. They have a keen eye for reckless driving and swerving, which they will use to justify pulling you over. Officers may even set up sobriety checkpoints on highly traveled roadways. And by owning a driver’s license, you have already granted “implied consent,” for police to administer a sobriety test. Failure to cooperate can result in being charged with a civil infraction and having to pay a fine of up to $150.
Additionally, the state of Michigan considers drunk driving to be a sustained bodily alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. But impaired driving isn’t just limited to alcohol intoxication. It is also illegal to drive while under the influence of illegal drugs and prescription medication. Violating these laws can carry heavy consequences. A first-time offender can face jail time, have his or her license suspended for up to one year, be forced to participate in a court-ordered rehabilitation program and serve up to 90 days of community service. License reinstatement fees and court costs can be burdensome for Michigan residents.
Early this year, Michigan state police released a drunk driving audit conducted in 2016 – and the numbers are staggering. The audit revealed that a total of 15,957 Michigan residents were arrested for operating under the influence of liquor (OUIL) – 133 of which caused a crash that resulted in an injury and 52 of which caused a fatal accident. Additionally, 384 residents under the age of 21 were arrested for impaired driving, 629 residents were arrested for operating with the presence of drugs (OWPD), and three CDL drivers were arrested for operating a commercial vehicle while impaired.
Safety Tips for The Holiday Season
In far too many cases, someone who is under the influence of drugs and alcohol will take the risk of operating a motor vehicle. They may downplay the dangers of impaired driving - on the premise of not experiencing any previous consequences. But no matter how secure you may feel, operating a vehicle while impaired is never a safe choice.
If you’re visiting with family and friends this holiday season, it’s best to surrender your keys and spend the night. Perhaps you could call a cab, summon a car with a ride-sharing app or catch a ride with a designated driver. If a friend or relative is impaired, don’t let them drive. The consequences outweigh the risks.
A DUI arrest can wreak havoc on your future and livelihood. If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI, it is important that you speak to an experienced Troy attorney at The Oliver Law Group. With vast knowledge of Michigan’s legal system, we can help protect your rights and ensure that you are treated fairly.