If You Drive Drunk, Don't Be That Drunk

The state of Michigan recently upped DUI consequences for serious first-time offenders, increasing fines, jail time and making treatment programs mandatory. The new law applies to what they call super-drunk drivers, or those with blood alcohol levels of 0.17 and above.

In Illinois, the law increases the penalties at .16. If your blood alcohol content is above .16, you are looking at higher fines and more jail time, among other things. Michigan and Illinois are among several states that differentiate between those who are drunk and those who are, well, more drunk.

The law in Illinois also differentiates between drunk drivers based on age, past convictions, whether a child was in the car and what type of vehicle they were driving.

Any driver with a blood alcohol level of .08 is considered drunk and can get a DUI. Drivers under 21 are considered drunk, and can get a DUI, with any amount of alcohol in their system. This is known as the zero tolerance rule. Drivers operating a commercial vehicle are considered drunk, and can get a DUI, at .04.

Keep in mind that you aren't necessarily in the clear with a .07. Even with level lower than .08, a police officer can arrest you, and you can be charged with a DUI, if the officer believes you were intoxicated enough to be impaired.

The new law in Michigan also expands the state's use of ignition interlock devices as a form of probation. These devices are installed in your car and don't allow it to start unless you are sober (you blow into the device). Illinois requires these devices - called BAIID - for a certain amount of time after a DUI conviction.


The general trend for DUIs is to make the laws stricter and the consequences greater. I can't argue with that, but it makes it all the more important to take it seriously. If you get pulled over, you don't have to answer any questions, submit to a field sobriety test, or take a breath test. There is no penalty for refusing, just remember to be polite when you decline. If you are asked to take a breath test after you've been arrested, usually at the police station, you can still refuse but your license can be suspended for doing so. Most attorneys say it's still best to refuse the test, unless you are 100% certain that you are not intoxicated.


Legal Tip Of The Day from Chicago lawyer Jac Cotigula: Merely being paid a salary does not exempt a worker from overtime pay. The employer must also satisfy the duties test of professional or administrative or executive.


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  • I guess so much for the commercial about "Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving," except that really buzzed driving has a higher penalty.

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