Your Employer and Your Michigan Ignition Interlock

employee drinking drivingGetting arrested for drunk driving can usher in a wave of discomfort. Not only might you spend some time behind bars, but you will have large fines to pay, court dates to attend, and a criminal record that will follow you around for a really long time. Plus, driving drunk doesn’t only increase your likelihood of getting arrested; it also increases your likelihood of taking someone’s life and losing your own. In Michigan, the consequences for driving while intoxicated can be far-reaching, even affecting your job or job search.

One of the potential consequences of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Michigan is that you will be ordered to use an ignition interlock device (IID). An ignition interlock device helps you maintain your employment by allowing you to drive to and from work, while it also ensures you are sober while driving. In Michigan, you are not required to install an IID on an employer-owned vehicle, although your employer will be notified of your situation. Normally, the law requires that an IID is installed on any vehicle you own or intend to drive. Since this can be an issue for employers with a fleet of vehicles, employers are not required to meet the conditions of your IID mandate.

Of course, if you are self-employed, this does not come into play. Self-employed people need to follow the ignition interlock requirement and have the device installed on all vehicles they operate; vehicles used for business and personal purposes must have an ignition interlock device installed.

While IIDs are considered a hassle topic by some people, the point of the devices is to keep convicted drunk drivers from repeating a dangerous mistake. If you have been convicted of driving while intoxicated in Michigan, it is ultimately your responsibility to remain sober behind the wheel of any car you drive. The choice is yours, but with the risks involved, your choice to drive sober should be clear.

A Cold Michigan Winter and Your Ignition
Interlock Device

ignition interlockMichigan winters are full of snow, ice and freezing temperatures. Most of us start preparing for the season as soon as possible with snow tires, emergency roadside kits and other considerations just to make the cold days and nights a little more bearable for our cars and transportation needs. With these cold temperatures quickly approaching, there is plenty of advice on how to maintain your car in winter, from car batteries to fluids, but, what about your ignition interlock device?

In 2013, The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported changes to its ignition interlock device requirements, including temperature considerations. Since each state in the U.S. now has some type of ignition interlock requirement for drunk driving offenses, each device needs to function properly in both extreme hot and cold temperatures. This means that each device must “warm up” within three minutes of being powered on, in order to quickly and accurately measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). Todays’ ignition interlock devices must also allow additional retests, about every three minutes, in order to provide the most accurate breathalyzer reading during periods of extreme cold or heat.

If you have an ignition interlock device, the last thing you want is for the equipment to disable your vehicle when you are sober and need to drive to work or get home at the end of the day. Cold temperatures are notorious for causing sluggish response in other electronic devices and most of us don’t have time for the hassle of a device that malfunctions due to weather. The NHTSA regulations on ignition interlock should provide some peace of mind that since you’re fulfilling the obligations of your DWI sentence, the device you’re relying on is doing its part, as well. You have enough problems to worry about when rebuilding your life after a DWI conviction in Michigan, your ignition interlock device shouldn’t be one of them.

How to Spot a Fake Driver’s License in Michigan

ignition interlock Whether used as a “novelty” item, or for illegal purposes, false driver’s licenses and identification has been around forever. People who use a fake ID are rarely up to any good, and most people assume that a fake driver’s license in Michigan is being used to purchase alcohol illegally or to enter into an “over 21” bar or club. There are countless reasons why people will get a fake driver’s license in Michigan, and across the country, including identity theft, getting around a suspended driver’s license or even driving without a required ignition interlock device. So, how do you know when you’re looking at a fake driver’s license?

8 Reasons to Suspect a Driver’s License in Michigan is Fake:

  1. The edges of the driver’s license are peeling up, or there are visible edges around the photo.
  2. There is no magnetic strip on the back of the driver’s license.
  3. The font or typeface is consistent over the entire driver’s license.
  4. The expiration date on the license has passed.
  5. The person holding the license seems nervous or anxious.
  6. The blacklight enhancements are missing or altered.
  7. A signature in “real time” doesn’t match the signature on the license.
  8. The background image is altered or missing.

Fake driver’s licenses are still easy to purchase, and are used each day by criminals to get around the restrictions placed on them for former crimes. Anyone caught in possession of a fake driver’s license in Michigan can face criminal penalties including a jail sentence of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $2,000. Whether you think it’s an easy way to buy some beer, or to get around your ignition interlock requirement, chances are that your fake driver’s license will only land you in more trouble than its worth.

Wrong Way, Drunk Driving in Michigan

ignition interlockIf you have ever gotten lost or confused in an unfamiliar part of the country, you know the fear that the bright “wrong way” signs can cause, especially when you’re staring at one as you drive by. Now, imagine driving down a road, the right way, directly into oncoming headlights. Which situation is preventable? Driving the wrong way can happen to even the most careful driver, but, the majority of wrong-way driving accidents aren’t caused by tourists, newly licensed teen drivers or the elderly – they’re caused by people who have been drinking and driving.

Michigan has a similar rate of wrong-way drunk driving accidents compared to the rest of the country, matching the national average of 60 percent. As recently as September, 2014, a Michigan woman was killed as the result of a wrong-way drunk driving accident, the seventh wrong-way fatality in Michigan this year.  Unfortunately, even as rates of drunk driving and fatal traffic accidents decrease, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports that the number of fatal, wrong-way accidents has not changed over the last decade across the U.S. The problem is not the signs or the roads being marked unclearly – it is the confusion that comes with drinking and driving that increases the chance of a wrong turn onto a wrong road.

It’s pretty scary that these  bright, red, “wake up” signs are on our roads and highways because of drunk or drugged drivers, especially considering the choice that is made when getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.  Of course, many feel the presence of an ignition interlock device is a scary indication that a person has driven while intoxicated, too. The scarier sight, however, is seeing another car coming at yours when you are powerless to prevent what happens next. Wrong-way accidents in Michigan are too often the result of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. With seven fatalities in the state, and countless more across the country, there is only one “right way” to drive: sober.

In Michigan, Drunk Driving Can Cost More than Your License

ignition interlockAfter you get your driver’s license in Michigan, the last thing you want to do is lose it. One of the fastest ways you can lose your license is to drive while intoxicated in the state, but, people still keep drinking and driving. It seems simple enough to stay sober when driving, but, not everyone makes responsible choices. That’s why Michigan will take more from you than your license if you are convicted of driving drunk.

Even the first offense of driving while intoxicated in Michigan can land you in jail. Offenders can be in jail for up to 93 days and have to serve up to 180 days of community service once released. Your driver’s license will be suspended, as well. That means you won’t be able to drive for the first 30 days after your release from jail and then your driving will be restricted for another 5 months. Additionally, 6 points will be added to your driving record and you will be responsible for court costs, fines, and a $1000 “Driver Responsibility Fee” for 2 years.

If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .17 or above at the time of your arrest, the penalties are more severe. A first “Super Drunk” offense in Michigan will get you up to 180 days in jail, double the fines, and suspended driving privileges for one year. At least one year will be spent in an alcohol treatment or self-help program and you will have to use an ignition interlock device (IID) for up to one year if allowed restricted driving privileges.

Repeat drunk driving offenders in Michigan face increased charges and penalties, and you could lose your license for a year (or more). Your license plate will be confiscated and your vehicle will also be immobilized unless it is forfeited. This is in addition to jail or prison time, community service, fees, and fines.

Michigan is a state that loves its cars and the experience of driving, and losing your license will take away the freedom you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Simply stated, if you stay sober when driving, you’ll never have to worry about losing your license and facing any other drunk driving charges in Michigan.

Michigan State University is Thinking About Drinking

ignition interlockHave you been thinking about drinking lately? It might not be a bad idea. Many people don’t reflect on their drinking habits extensively. Drinking becomes something social you do when you go out to have fun with friends. Most people don’t think too hard about the drinks they have to relax after a hard day or how many beers they have at a sporting event. Drinking in these situations feels natural, so what need is there to think about it?

Thinking about drinking is difficult because it’s hard to evaluate your own drinking habits and know when too much is too much. If you don’t fully understand what a drinking problem is and what the red flags are, you may be leaving yourself open for trouble down the road.

Michigan State University has created a program called, “Thinking about Drinking.” This program is a confidential way for people to evaluate their own drinking habits and see how these habits may be affecting them. Alcohol use can affect your personal relationships, your emotional health, and your physical health.

Recognizing an alcohol problem can be hard. Recent studies have shown that binge drinking has become a big problem in America. According to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report more than 80,000 people die in the United States every year due to binge drinking. Many of these people are young adults or underage drinkers. Many people who take part in underage drinking on college campuses think they’re too young to have a real alcohol problem. When most people think of alcoholism, they imagine an old man stumbling around drunk or passed out at the bar midday. The reality is a lot more complicated than that. Anyone can have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, regardless of age, sex, or background.

Many states such as Michigan are taking steps to help people make healthier choices regarding alcohol by creating programs such as “Thinking about Drinking” or ignition interlock programs. These programs help individuals be more self-aware and make safer choices when it comes to drinking. Through education and alcohol awareness we can help promote healthy drinking choices that can prevent a fun night out with friends from turning into something that you regret.

Michigan Ignition Interlock Violation Penalties

ignition interlockMichigan requires ignition interlock installations for different DWI offenders. For instance, a person convicted with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level between .08 and .17 could be ordered to install an ignition interlock device. In the case of “Super Drunk” DWI offenders in Michigan, the installation is mandatory, as well as for habitual offenders with more than two convictions in seven years or more than three convictions in 10 years. Michigan does allow a short period of time for you to get used to your ignition interlock device at the beginning of the installation. After that time, any violations will result in the following restrictions and consequences:

  • Three start-up test failures within a monitoring period or failure to report for IID service within 7 days of a “monitoring date” will result in a three-month extension of the ignition interlock requirement.
  • Rolling re-test violations (not testing or testing positive for alcohol), circumventing or tampering with the ignition interlock device or operating a vehicle without an IID will cause you to lose your driver’s license.
  • Any other drunk driving arrests or convictions while you have an IID requirement will also cause you to lose your driver’s license. If convicted, you will also be considered a habitual offender and face harsher consequences as a result.

These devices increase your ability to stay employed while serving out the terms of your DWI sentence, and you are able to retain much of the freedom you could lose if you choose to continue driving while intoxicated. Since you have met the requirements for an ignition interlock device in Michigan, the last thing you want to do is risk losing it and having to rely on others for transportation. Trust your ignition interlock device: no matter how much you may feel you are able to drive after “one for the road,” the last thing you want to face is more legal issues and the possibility of a tragedy on the road.

Will I Go to Jail for my Michigan DWI?

ignition interlockIf you have been charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Michigan, you are probably aware that you could serve some time in jail if you are convicted. Like many states, however, Michigan’s DWI laws are “graduated” in a sense to encourage rehabilitation instead of heavy-handed punishments to an extent. Because no DWI incident is alike, there are different factors that could cause you to spend some time in jail, and others that may only require an ignition interlock installation on your car.

If it is your first DWI and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was less than 0.17, chances are you’re not going to jail. If it’s a first offense and your BAC is 0.17 or higher, you will probably be required to serve jail time. The maximum jail time you can serve for this is 180 days in jail. If you have had prior DWI offenses or if your offense is a felony DWI, you will be required to serve jail time as well.

  • A second offense will require you to serve a minimum of five days in jail.
  • A third DWI offense is considered a felony offense and you will be required to spend a minimum of 30 days in jail.
  • If there was an injury or death as a result of your drunk driving you are pretty much guaranteed to be sentenced to multiple years in prison.

A DWI conviction in Michigan does not always require a jail sentence, especially for many first-time convictions. With options like substance abuse treatment programs, ignition interlock installations, community service, fines, court costs and the entire process of reclaiming your life after a DWI, most courts hope that the initial lessons learned are enough to keep you sober behind the wheel, without serving jail time.

Criminals Beware: Michigan’s “Super Drunk” Law is Hardcore

ignition interlockThere is “drunk,” and then there is “Super Drunk,” at least according to the law in Michigan and being “Super Drunk” is nothing to look up to, despite its comic book name. Since no state in the U.S. condones drinking and driving, yet, each state has to consider the needs and perspectives of its residents; Michigan’s “Super Drunk” law reflects a really tough stance on drunk drivers in the state, particularly first-time offenders with more than twice the legal blood alcohol limit (BAC). In short, there is nothing super about being “Super Drunk” in Michigan.

Michigan’s “Super Drunk” law was enacted in 2010, focusing on hardcore, first-time “operating while intoxicated” (OWI) offenders who tested at or above a .17 BAC level.  When convicted of being “Super Drunk,” in Michigan, you will have two pretty strict consequences to face with your Super Drunk Driving sentence: a year of documented alcohol rehabilitation (treatment programs or self-help) and a one-year ignition interlock device requirement. Before installing the ignition interlock device, however, you won’t be able to drive at all for 45 days. Plus, your “Super Drunk” fines are higher than normal and you might face more time in jail and more community service hours.

Everyone looks up the heroes in their lives, but, in Michigan, being “Super Drunk,” doesn’t come with a great costume, super powers or signal in the sky.   Since these laws focus on people who are drinking way more than a round or two of drinks after work, the message is to keep any and all drinking under control. Even Superman has his kryptonite, and if you are unable to make the right choices after a few drinks, it may be a better plan to call one of those super heroes you know you can always rely on: a designated driver.



Did the “Epic Rave” in Michigan Violate Social Host Laws?

Did the “Epic Rave” in Michigan Violate Social Host Laws?Protecting the lives of friends and family can be as easy as taking away someone’s keys and offering him or her sober ride home. In fact, when the party is at your own house, many feel that morally, if not legally, you are accountable for the safety of any guests (or other drivers on the road) when alcohol is being served. But, what if your party gets “out of hand,” through the grapevine and people end up driving home drunk? Could you be held accountable for the bad judgment of people you may have never met before that night? In Michigan, it isn’t likely.

Social host laws are loosely defined when it comes to a host’s responsibility for guests who may leave an alcohol-saturated private party and then drive while intoxicated. In Michigan, while there are clear definitions for an adult furnishing alcoholic beverages to minors under these circumstances, even the social host laws state that a person must be seen actually serving alcohol to anyone under the age of 21. This means that the host of an “epic rave” will not necessarily be held accountable for the illegal actions of any of his or her guests, unless he or she is seen handing out the alcohol to minors.

Michigan Social Host Laws state a person is in violation if:

  • The party specifically includes underage drinking in or on a private residence (or outdoors).
  • The host has actual knowledge of the consumption of alcohol by minors, and does nothing to stop or prevent the drinking.

In addition, if all guests at the social function are family members and/or relatives, there is no applicable “social host” law for underage drinking.

The 20-year-old host of an out-of-hand party in Michigan that included underage drinking, drug overdoses and a sexual assault, has claimed partial responsibility for his party, yet, he also contends that the party guests made their own choices when it came to drinking and that parents should have been more involved. As a social host, when alcohol is being served, should any consumption by a minor at a private party be legal grounds for an arrest or conviction, or, are parents ultimately responsible for the choices made by the underage drinkers?


Call Now Button