Some unexpected consequences from the Super Drunk Law

By:  Lori T. Williams, Owner/Managing Attorney of Your Legal Resource, PLLC

Since the holiday season usually brings about added celebrations, and for some lonely and difficult times, I think it is worth reviewing the Super Drunk Law and heeding a “drink responsibly” message.

I previously featured a blog on the Super Drunk Law, which you can read here.

However, I wanted to share some additional information gleaned from one of my recent clients.  She is a loyal employee who worked at a bar for over two decades, as their bookkeeper.  She was never one to drink and drive, or consume excessive amounts of Alcohol.  However, one time, she consumed (4) 12 ounce Jack and Cokes, drove her car, and as a result faced a drunk driving charge.  She accepted responsibility for her actions and complied with the installation of the breathalyzer machine in her car.  This machine, known as an ignition interlock device, cost her $80 per month, plus court costs of $2,000  and legal fees of $1,500.  

Once the machine was installed in her car, she had to blow into it every time before starting her car. Sometimes it indicated false positives for blood alcohol, such as when she ate an Arby’s Sandwich and a Jamocha Shake and the machine showed .07 blood alcohol, when no alcohol had been consumed.  Another time, she received a warning letter in the mail that the reading on the breathalyzer machine reflected an alcohol level of .25. She knew she had not consumed any alcohol for months prior to that date, and definitely had not been drinking and driving for over a year. Was it equipment error?  Did someone else drive her car that did have an excessive blood alcohol content? The facts are still being sorted out, but the bottom line is she will have to drive with the interlock device in her car for another year, at a cost of $960 per year .

This prolonged sentence and additional cost was an unintended consequence for my client.  She did the right thing after her conviction by following the Super Drunk Law and the terms of her sentence.  Yet the way the law stands right now, the results of the ignition interlock device aren’t appealable, even when there appears to be machine error or some other reason for the blood alcohol reading. All she can do is continue to comply and hope that there aren’t any additional errors or violations for the next year.

Please drink responsibly, for your sake and for those around you.  The consequences for doing otherwise could range from unintended inconvenience, added cost, loss of license, jail time, physical injury, or a loss of life.

For additional information about the Super Drunk Law, click here.

If you have legal questions or need representation for drunk driving charges, license restoration, or any area of law in Michigan, please contact us for a free consultation.

Lori T. Williams

Lori T. Williams is an attorney based in Birmingham, MI, licensed in 1989.  As owner of a legal referral business called Your Legal Resource, PLLC, Lori personally assists individuals and small businesses in need of legal advice or representation in Metro Detroit by connecting them with the right legal specialist to meet their needs.