A Michigan bill has been introduced that would lower the BAC for OUIL’s from .08 to .05 which would make Michigan and Utah the only two states in our country to have such a strict standard. The National Transportation Safety Board made this recommendation in 2013 and have publicly stated that such a reduction would lower fatalities by 11%. To gain insight on how this would affect the state of Michigan, we spoke to top criminal defense attorneys in our state to gather their point of view.
Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and has built a team that is known as the top criminal defense firm in the state of Michigan. When asked about the potential bill, Grabel was quoted as saying, “This is a bill that is being pushed hard by State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud with the goal of protecting families. In Lansing, this would change the culture that we currently are living in as many people know what their limits are under the current law. With the potential change, it would alter how people socialize and spend their money. The safest thing to do is not to drink and drive under any circumstances but this new bill will create a tremendous influx of criminal prosecutions, and for those defendants’ with prior convictions, it could certainly lead to more incarcerations.”
William Amadeo is a Senior Associate at Grabel and Associates and a partner at Ann Arbor Legal in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Amadeo had quickly developed a reputation as a top criminal attorney throughout the state of Michigan but provided commentary directed at his home county when he said, “In Washtenaw County, there have been much traffic stops for “Impaired Driving” and the problem with the impaired statute is how vague it is. One could be tired and charged with impaired. If a comparison study of how Utah law is being applied to how Michigan legislation may be conducted, we are going to see OUIL’s and “Impaired Driving” prosecutions reach an all-time high in our state and a county such as Washtenaw is going to have a logjam in the District Court. As litigators, we need to be prepared for what is on the horizon.”
Joe Brugnoli is one of the top criminal defense lawyers in the Grand Rapids area. Brugnoli, a former police officer, provided insight when he stated, “As a former officer, I can tell you from my playbook knowledge that when a new bill like this is introduced, there is going to be some growing pains. An area such as Grand Rapids will certainly be on the higher end of OUIL and DWI prosecutions’. Defending our clients’ will not be as simple as showing up and asking for an impaired, instead, it is going to take localized knowledge in understanding how this law will affect each particular defendant.”
The sponsors of this new bill are all Democrats, and there is uncertainty as to whether or not the Republican contingent will join forces. The Democrats that are pushing the bill are utilizing the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for guidance. The Commission estimated that a male who weighs about 180 pounds will hit .05 BAC somewhere midway into his third alcoholic beverage. He will hit .08 after his fourth drink within an hour. A woman who weighs about 160 pounds will hit .05 somewhere midway through her second drink within an hour. She will hit .08 midway through her third drink. With these facts in place, the thought is that drinking and driving may be reduced but as the lawyers in this article stated, there are two sides to that argument.