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'Super Drunk' DUI charges for woman who struck deputy's cruiser

Police reports say that a Michigan woman was drunk when she struck a county sheriff's patrol car as she traveled on local roads in Commerce Township. Failing to remain at the scene of the impact, the driver was said to have been located on Commerce Street a short time later. The driver, an 18-year-old woman, was arrested and released on bond after being charged with DUI and leaving the scene of an accident.

The patrol car was apparently stopped on the side of the road while the officer was assisting assisted a driver that had just been involved in a hit-and-run collision. The accident occurred after midnight, when the young woman was said to have collided with the right front portion of the police vehicle even though the overhead lights of the cruiser were flashing. Fortunately, the patrolman was not in the car at the time of the collision, though the car was apparently rendered inoperable as a result of the crash.

At the time of her arrest, authorities say the accused woman had a blood alcohol level of .24 percent. That reading is three times the Michigan limit of .08. A Breathalyzer test was used to produce the blood alcohol number, and the veracity of the test results may be a focus of attention as the accused woman defends herself against the DUI charges.

Under the Michigan "Super Drunk" law, a driver whose blood alcohol level is at least two times the legal limit faces extra-strict penalties if convicted. These consequences can include jail time, fines approximately totaling $8000 and mandatory alcohol treatment. Penalties for conviction can also include loss of driving privileges for a period of 45 days and also the requirement to have a Breathalyzer installed in one's car that disables its operation when the reading exceeds the permissible limit.

Despite the prospect of exceptionally heavy legal penalties, this young woman, like all those facing DUI charges, will have the opportunity to present a full defense prior to an adjudication of her case. Along with scrutinizing the results of the Breathalyzer test, her defense team will be able to question all witnesses and challenge other evidence offered against her. Nevertheless, she may have a difficult road ahead of her as she struggles to clear her name and achieve a result that is fair under all of the circumstances.

Source: CBS Detroit, "Sheriff: Drunk Teen Who Hit Patrol Car Was 3X Legal Limit," March 24, 2012

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