Michigan DUI Defense Attorney: ‘Super Drunk Driving’ Law Can Help Motorists Avoid Jail

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A seven-month-old law aimed at drivers with alcohol levels more than double the limit can actually allow more people to receive rehabilitation, according to Bloomfield Hills criminal defense lawyer Paul J. Tafelski.

Michigan, Oakland County, Bloomfield Hills, Royal Oak, Rochester Hills, West Bloomfield, criminal defense, drunk driving, DUI, OWI, DWI, Super Drunk Law, lawyer, attorney, law firm

Michigan DUI defense attorney Paul J. Tafelski

This so-called ‘super drunk driving’ law appears to be helping troubled people get the assistance they need, instead of further overcrowding our jails as some had feared.

Michigan’s new “super drunk driving” law appears to be steering people charged with drunk driving offenses toward help instead of a jail cell, Oakland County criminal defense attorney Paul J. Tafelski said today.

He hailed a recent report in the Lansing State Journal that showed the new law isn’t cramming jails with drunk driving offenders but instead diverting motorists with alcohol problems into rehabilitation.

“This so-called ‘super drunk driving’ law appears to be helping troubled people get the assistance they need, instead of further overcrowding our jails as some had feared,” said Tafelski, founder of the Bloomfield Hills OWI/DUI/DWI defense firm of Paul J. Tafelski, P.C.

“That these motorists are getting help for alcohol problems through sobriety courts and other programs is a good thing for these individuals and for the public,” he said, adding that rehabilitation can help prevent more alcohol infractions as opposed to just punishing offenders.

Michigan’s “super drunk driving” law took effect Oct. 31, 2010. It was aimed at motorists who have a bodily alcohol content (BAC) greater than 0.17 grams per 210 liters of breath, 100 milliliters of blood or 67 milliliters of urine — more than twice the legal limit.

It sets out harsher penalties for first-time high-BAC offenders, and also requires convicted drivers to undergo a yearlong alcohol abuse treatment program or other form of rehabilitation.

The law roughly doubled the length of license suspensions and possible jail times for first-time offenders, imposing an automatic one-year license suspension and up to 180 days in jail.

However, in the Lansing State Journal article, an Ingham County prosecutor said not many people have gotten six-month sentences “because the purpose of this law is to try and help them rehabilitate.”

The article said that in neighboring Eaton County, the vast majority of motorists facing charges under the “super drunk” law have been able to plea down to impaired driving in exchange for enrolling in a rehabilitation program.

“This shows how important it is for anyone charged with a drunk driving offense here in Oakland County to get experienced, dedicated legal help,” said Tafelski, the Bloomfield Hills criminal defense lawyer.

Tafelski stressed that there are many other types for drunk driving offenses in Michigan in addition to the new “super drunk driving” law. They include:

  •     OWI - operating while intoxicated (blood alcohol content above 0.08 percent);
  •     UBAL and UBAC - driving with an unlawful bodily alcohol level/content; and
  •     OWVI - operating while visually impaired (lesser penalties than OWI).

“These cases are far more complicated than most people realize, and the more people have to lose, the more important it is to be well represented,” Tafelski said.

About Paul J. Tafelski, P.C.
The Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, criminal defense law firm of Paul J. Tafelski, P.C., represents clients charged with drunk driving, traffic and other criminal offenses throughout Detroit, Troy, Rochester Hills, West Bloomfield, Bloomfield Hills, Royal Oak, Plymouth, Canton, Wayne County, Oakland County, Macomb County and the state of Michigan. The firm’s practice areas include misdemeanors and felonies, OWI / DUI / DWI, traffic tickets, domestic violence, drug possession, license restoration, criminal sexual conduct, Internet crimes, probation violations, expungement and assault with a dangerous weapon / felonious assault. To learn more about the firm, call (248) 451-2200 or use the firm’s online form.

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