New legislation has recently been passed by the Michigan House that would enhance the penalties for convicted drugged drivers.
Rep. Dan Lauwers, a Republican of Brockway Township, sponsored House Bill 5383-85 to place a conditional bond on drivers who are arrested for operating under the influence of drugs and would require that convicted drugged motorists be provided with a restricted driving permit and have a chemical analysis placed in the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN).
According to Rep. Lauwers, the chief aim of the bill is to require drugged drivers to be held to the same penalties as drunk drivers:
“These are landmark public safety measures that will better protect Michigan motorists by keeping repeat drugged drivers off our streets,” said Lauwers, R-Brockway Township. “We need to update state law in order to address the increased incidences of driving while using a controlled substance. Drugged drivers should face the same consequences as drivers who are under the influence of alcohol. It’s a positive step forward in protecting all motorists.”
Proponents of the bill feel as though the law is unclear as to what happens to motorists who drive under the influence of a controlled substance. They further feel that with the increase of Michigan residents utilizing medical marijuana, several safety concerns regarding stoned driving should be addressed.
“Drugged driving has unfortunately become a new challenge for our communities and law enforcement, and we must take steps to address the problem to help improve the safety of Michigan motorists,” said Lauwers, R-Brockway Township. “We’re replicating the way the state deals with drunken drivers to more effectively get those motorists under the influence of drugs off the streets.”
Several residents appear to support the bill. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Michigan had the 12th highest rate of drugged drivers in the U.S. from 2006 to 2009. With the passage of the bill, there may be a reduction in Michigan’s drugged driving rate. The current law in a sense creates a loophole to limit the criminal penalties convicted drugged drivers face.
I will be providing more information on whether or not this bill will ultimately pass. If you have been charged with drugged or drunk driving in Washtenaw County, contact me for a consultation. I will review your case and discuss the possible legal options you have to get the charge(s) asserted against you reduced or completely dismissed.