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Michigan, like many other states, provides strict penalties to drivers who operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The state continues to refine its drunk driving laws, with two new bills being introduced in 2010. The new bills pertain to the use of ignition interlock devices, the establishment of a new sobriety court and changes in rules regarding restricted licenses.
DUI Laws for Michigan
Drunk driving legislation in Michigan has made it illegal for drivers to operate a motor vehicle while having a .08 or higher percentage of blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Michigan’s drunken driving laws include the OWI (operating while intoxicated), which is similar to a DUI in many other states, and the OWVI, or operating while visibly impaired law. Drivers may be convicted of an OWVI if their driving ability showed visual evidence of impairment, regardless of whether their blood alcohol was above the legal limit.
Michigan Implied Consent Law
Drivers in Michigan are held to the implied consent law. This means drivers have implicitly agreed to allow a peace officer to test them for the presence of alcohol or drugs. The test may be administered as a breath, urine or blood test, and refusal to submit to testing will cause a one-year license suspension and the addition of six points to the individual’s driving record.
Michigan’s DUI Penalties
In the state of Michigan, a first offender can expect to receive jail time up to a maximum of 93 days, and a license suspension for up to 180 days. First offenders will receive eligibility for a restricted license once they have had a suspended license for 30 days. Drivers will receive six points on their driving record, along with a fine ranging from $100-$500. First offenders must also pay a $1,000 fine for two years, as a driver responsibility fee. Depending on an individual’s situation, a maximum of 360 hours of community service may be assigned, along with the possibility of an ignition interlock device. This device will need to be installed in an individual’s vehicle once he regains the use of his license. A judge may also choose to immobilize a driver’s vehicle depending on the specifics of his arrest and court case.
Penalties and fines increase with each subsequent drunk driving conviction, with jail time ranging from five days up to one year. For second and third offenders, the license suspension increases to a minimum of 12 months. The state will confiscate an individual’s license plates, and immobilize his vehicle for at least 3 to 6 months. Fines will range from $200-$1,000 and the driver responsibility fee of $1,000 will need to be paid for two years. Additionally, community service may be required for 2 to 6 months.
Michigan DUI Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) tracks driving accidents and fatalities for every state in the nation. Based on statistics from 2005 to 2009, Michigan has been able to maintain its drunk driving fatalities slightly lower than the national average. Additionally, the fatality rate has been dropping, with 327 fatalities in 2005, down to 246 fatalities in 2009. These statistics refer to crash fatalities involving at least one person with a blood alcohol content at or above the .08 legal limit. The NHTSA also looks at the same numbers as a proportion of the number of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT). This enables Michigan’s information to be standardized against other states, regardless of differences in population. Based on this calculation method, Michigan had .31 alcohol related fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2005, and that number has dropped in 2009 to .25 fatalities per 100 million VMT. The average for the United States has been dropping as well over the years, with comparable numbers of .45 fatalities nationwide per 100 million VMT in 2005, down to .37 fatalities per 100 million VMT in 2009.
Michigan generally requires drivers convicted of an OWI to carry SR-22 auto insurance for a period of three years. Given the details of a specific situation though, SR-22 insurance may be required for a longer or possibly shorter time. Some factors that could affect the amount of time a driver needs to carry SR-22 insurance are the driver’s motor vehicle history, other crimes or penalties the driver might be charged with concurrently, and whether the driver is a first or subsequent offender.
How a DUI Affects Car Insurance
When a driver in Michigan has been convicted of an OWI, his insurance costs will be affected for at least three years. When a driver is required to carry SR-22 insurance, he needs to carry at least the state required minimum liability insurance. Additionally, because of the additional points added onto the driver’s record, insurance providers will place him in a higher-risk category, which automatically drives up insurance premiums.
Finding SR-22 Insurance in Michigan
Drivers with an OWI conviction may be canceled by their current insurance company and need to find a new policy. Many quality insurance companies are licensed to do business in Michigan, and several of them specialize in providing insurance for high-risk individuals. Auto insurance companies such as Geico, Progressive Insurance and The General Car Insurance are good companies to start with, and each offers a free policy quote tool on its website for consumers. Shopping around is the best way for consumers to find low rates on auto insurance for two reasons. First, insurance companies are competitive and many work very hard to get a customer’s business. Second, each insurance company uses its own internal formulas to evaluate the different factors affecting each driver’s risk and insurance premiums, and insurance quotes may vary widely from one insurance company to the next.