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Michigan authorities arrest 45 drunk drivers in DUI crackdown

Michigan drivers are frequently reminded that law enforcement agencies periodically conduct enforcement drives to crack down on drunk driving by hitting the roads and looking for intoxicated drivers. These efforts are aimed at curbing drunk driving by arresting drivers who are impaired by alcohol and other substances.

Michigan's Office of Highway Safety Planning recently reported that in a three-day crackdown over Super Bowl weekend Michigan authorities arrested 45 drunken drivers in 21 counties. Most of the arrests came from Wayne County; Wyandotte County had the second highest number of arrests.

During the crackdown, authorities made more than 1,300 traffic stops. Among those arrested for drunken driving, 11 drivers had blood alcohol contents of 0.17 percent or more; they were charged under state's High BAC law.

The Michigan legal BAC limit is 0.08. Anyone over the limit faces drunken-driving charges that carry harsh penalties: license suspension, fines and incarceration. The state's high BAC law provides even harsher punishments if a driver's BAC is found to be 0.17 or more.

The drive was coordinated by the OHSP and supported by a federal traffic safety fund.

Drunken-driving arrests usually occur after a traffic stop for a specific reason. Law enforcement officers have the power to stop a vehicle if they notice a traffic violation. If they suspect drunken driving, then they can ask a driver to perform a field sobriety test or take a breath alcohol test. Drivers have the right to refuse these tests but refusing a breath test or field sobriety test means automatic suspension of a driving license.

Law enforcement authorities cannot make traffic stops without probable cause, i.e., reasonable grounds to believe an offense has been committed. If a traffic stop is determined to have been made without probable cause, then drunken-driving or DUI charges may be thrown out of court. A DUI defense attorney with experience in navigating the legal system can be of invaluable assistance.

Source: Wyandotte Patch, "Michigan Law Enforcement Agencies Arrest 45 Drunk Drivers During Super Bowl Weekend," Nicole Krawcke, Feb. 19, 2013

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