Having a hand-held breathalyzer (ignition interlock device) in your car might not be something you have in your car or even something that you even thought of having in your car, but after reading this you may change that. It is common knowledge that the police will administer a breathalyzer test if they discern that you are visibly impaired while driving or driving in a way that denotes drunkenness or impairment. Under Michigan law it is illegal to drive with a BAC (Bodily Alcohol Content) of .08 or more, and if you are under 21 you it illegal to have a BAC of .02 or more unless consumed at a generally recognized religious ceremony.

Just a single serving of the standard amount of an alcoholic beverage (beer – 12oz., wine – 5oz., whiskey – 1.5oz.) is enough to impair judgment, self-control, reaction time, logical thought, vision, concentration and your overall ability to properly operate a motor vehicle. In 2016, 82% of 15-20 year olds who were killed in car crashes had 0.8 g/dL or higher and 24% of 15-20 year olds had a BAC of 0.1% g/dL or higher. The number of young drivers being involved or killed alcohol influenced crashes is something that the State of Michigan does not take lightly. Michigan Law requires courts to decide drunk driving cases within just 77 days after the arrest, a mandatory driver license suspension of 6 months even on the driver’s first conviction, and a mandatory license suspension of 1 year for the first conviction (driving with a BAC of .17 or higher – “High BAC”). The Court is to order participation in as well as the successful completion of at least one rehabilitation program, 5 days to a year of consecutive jail time or 30 to 90 days of drunk driving. And on top of that a $125 fee to reinstate your driver’s license if it was suspended, revoked, or restricted.

If a police officer asks a driver to undergo a PBT (Preliminary Breath Test) or PAS (Preliminary Alcohol Screening) and that driver refuses then 6 points are added to their license and their license will be suspended for a year if it is a first time offense. If a driver fails the breathalyzer test, is then tried and convicted for OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) on a first time offense the following will be the punishment:

– $100 to $500 fine and one or more of the following:
– Up to 93 days in jail
– Community Service of up to 360 hours
– Driver’s license suspension for 30 days, followed by license restrictions for 150 days
– Possible vehicle immobilization
– Possible ignition interlock
– Six points on the driver’s license

If a driver is convicted of OWI and their BAC is considered a “High BAC” (0.17 or higher) then the consequences are much greater, receiving one or more of the following punishments:

– $200 to $700 fine
– up to 180 days in jail
– community service of up to 360 hours
– Mandatory vehicle immobilization if the offense is convicted for operating a vehicle without a properly installed ignition interlock device.
– Suspension of driver’s license for a year, and eligible for restrictions after 45 days of suspension if an ignition interlock device was installed.
– Possible confiscation of the metal license plate if the operator operates the vehicle without properly installed ignition interlock device.
– Six points on the driver’s license

If it is a driver’s first OWVI offense (Operating While Visibly Impaired):

– Fine of up to $300 as well as one or more of the following punishments:
– Time in Jail of up to 93 days
– Community Service of up to 360 hours
– Possible vehicle immobilization
– Driver’s license restrictions for 90 days, 180 days if impaired by a controlled substance
– Four points on the driver’s license

If a driver is OWI or OWVI or operating while license is suspended, revoked, or denied and causing death or serious injury:

– Death – imprisonment of up to 15 years, or a $2,500 to $10,000 fine; or both.
– Injury – imprisonment of up to 5 years or a $1,000 to $5,000 fine; or both
– Emergency Responder Death – imprisonment of up to 20 years or a $2,500 to $10,000 fine; or both
– Driver’s license revoked and denied for a minimum of 1 year
– Vehicle immobilization for up to 180 days, unless the vehicle is forfeited
– Possible vehicle forfeiture
– six points on the driver’s license

In conclusion, the consequences of driving while impaired are clearly not worth the cost, monetarily or otherwise. Keeping an ignition interlock device (breathalyzer) installed properly in your car could save you a ton of grief and potentially save yours and others people’s lives. We’ve all hear the phrase, “better safe than sorry”, and it absolutely applies to the concerns of OWI and OWVI. Here at OFFICIAL Driving School we put great emphasis on driving safely and this is a great way to ensure you and your family are ready for the road.