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Update: Local Municipalities Recently Enabled To Prosecute "Super Drunk" Drivers

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Nichole Jongsma Derks
Foster Swift Municipal Law News
March 2012

In February, 2012, Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law legislation that allows Michigan cities, townships, and villages to prosecute "super drunk drivers"—drivers whose blood alcohol levels exceed .17. Generally, local ordinances may not impose penalties beyond 93 days in jail or a $500 fine. But the new legislation allows local prosecution of the Super Drunk Law to impose penalties of a maximum jail sentence of 180 days and a fine of up to $700.00. So local municipalities can enforce the Super Drunk law if it already has an ordinance (or if it adopts an ordinance) that adopts the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code (which includes the "Super Drunk" law MCL 257.625(1)(c)). If your municipality is already prosecuting drunk driving offenses, there is likely no need to update your current offense ordinance as long as it adopts the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code. But even if your municipality has adopted the Motor Vehicle Code, it will be necessary for your municipality to specifically adopt the increased penalty of 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $700.00 for violation of the ordinance corresponding to MCL 257.625(1)(c).

If it takes the right underlying steps, then a municipality has two options:

  1. It can prosecute "Super Drunk" drivers under the new law and enforce the steeper penalties that go with it, or
  2. It can refer those cases to their respective county prosecutors.

Should you have any questions about the Super Drunk law or municipal prosecutions, please contact our Lansing office.