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Impaired Driving Law

It is a crime for a driver to have a bodily alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or greater if over age 21 or .02 or greater if under 21. In addition, Michigan has a high-BAC law with enhanced penalties for anyone caught driving with a BAC of .17 or higher. However, drivers can be arrested at any BAC level if they exhibit signs of impairment while operating a motor vehicle.

Drivers with any amount of a Schedule 1 narcotic--such as marijuana, GHB, or heroin--are subject to the same fines and penalties as drunk drivers, even if they show no signs of impairment.


Costs and Consequences of a Drunk Driving Conviction

If BAC is below .17 and this is a first offense:

  • Up to $500 fine
  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • Up to 180 days license suspension
  • 6 points on a driver's license

If BAC is .17 or higher and this is a first offense:

  • Up to $700 fine
  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • Up to one year license suspension
  • 6 points on a driver's license
  • Mandatory completion of an alcohol treatment program
  • Ignition interlock use and compliance after 45 days license suspension is required to receive a restricted driver's license. Convicted drunk drivers have limited driving privileges, are prohibited from operating a vehicle without an approved and properly installed ignition interlock device, and are responsible for all installation and upkeep costs for the device.

Anyone who refuses a breath test the first time is given an automatic one-year driver's license suspension. For a second refusal within seven years, the suspension is two years.

Convicted drunk drivers are subject to a $1,000 penalty for two consecutive years under the Driver Responsibility Act, for a total of $2,000 in additional costs.


Safer Alternatives

Tens of thousands of people are arrested annually in Michigan for alcohol-related driving offenses. To avoid a drunk driving arrest and the costs associated with such an arrest:

  • Designate a sober driver before drinking alcohol
  • Call a friend, cab, ride service, walk, or take the bus
  • Stay overnight
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