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Michigan police increase DUI patrols for Thanksgiving weekend

Earlier this month, we reported that the Michigan State Police would be stepping up patrols over the Halloween weekend in an effort to discourage drunk drivers. This week, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning will be conducting a similar effort designed to enforce drunk driving restrictions this Thanksgiving weekend.

According to police, Wednesday night has the reputation of being "the biggest bar night of year," leading many to worry that the drunk drivers could take to the roads in large numbers. To combat this threat, nearly 100 agencies across 20 counties have banded together to put extra patrols in effect over the holiday weekend.

Last year, Michigan State Police arrested 166 people for alcohol-related offenses on the night before Thanksgiving. Nearly a third of those drivers registered blood-alcohol content above .17 percent, meaning they could be prosecuted under Michigan's strict "super drunk" laws.

Police view Thanksgiving weekend with particular concern because there are so many travelers on the road in general, multiplying the chances for disaster. Police advise Michigan residents to consider taking taxis or busses home from the bar, or to designate a sober driver for the evening. Those who have been charged with drunk driving in Michigan face severe penalties; even if a driver avoids a "super drunk" conviction he or she could still face up to 93 days in jail, a $500 fine, a six-month driver's license suspension and 360 hours of community service. Those convicted under "super drunk" laws face even stricter punishments.

Drivers should take care, then, before taking to the roads this weekend. Of course, if a driver is accused of drunk driving they should speak to an expert for more information about their legal situation. The laws surrounding DUI can be complicated, and those accused of breaking them would benefit from gaining as much information as possible before moving forward.

Source: Up North Live, "Michigan residents hit the road for Thanksgiving," Anne Cook, Nov. 21, 2012

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