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Drunk Driving is a serious problem in Michigan, causing many innocent drivers to lose their time, money, and sometimes even their lives. Now the Michigan legislature has increased the penalty of some drunk driving charges in the hope of convincing repeat offenders not to drive.
The newly amended drunk driving law will go into effect September 24, 2014, and will increase the penalty for repeat offenders whose actions cause death or serious bodily injury to another person. Under the law right now, a drunk driver who kills someone in a collision could face up to 15 years in prison and between $2,500 and $10,000 in fines, on top of any third party personal injury claims the victims’ family might have. If the victim is seriously injured but not killed, the penalty is up to 5 years and a $1,000 to $5,000 fine.
Come September, those numbers jump dramatically if the driver has a prior Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) conviction and is significantly over the legal limit. The enhanced penalties kick in if the drunk driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was at least 0.17 grams er 100 milliliters of blood and the defendant had a prior OWI conviction within the last 7 years. Then the penalty for a fatal accident is 20 years in prison. For serious injury cases the drunk driver could serve up to 10 years in prison.
Alcohol and drug use were involved in 35.9% of total fatal car crashes in 2013. In 2012 16,469 were convicted of DUI (or operating while intoxicated). But reductions in the number of police on the roads have seen that number drop. Now it seems that the legislature hopes to make up for the lack of manpower by increasing penalties and scaring drunk drivers “straight.”
No matter how high the penalty there will always be some people who make the bad choice to drink and drive. If you know someone who has been the victim of a drunk driving accident, contact the no-fault experts at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. Our team, led by David Christensen, can help you get your medical bills covered and get back to the way life was before the accident.