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December is Impaired Driving Prevention Month

By: Shelly Mcfarlane, Defense Attorney and MATCP Board Member

The holiday season is a time to recognize all that we are grateful for. This generally involves many parties, family gatherings, and office celebrations. December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. The goal is to raise awareness about the dangers of impaired driving and encourage responsible behavior, especially during the holiday season when incidents of impaired driving tend to increase.

Impaired driving is often related to alcohol or drug use; it is a significant concern in Michigan, as it is in many other states. Organizations like the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) and the Michigan State Police regularly provide updated statistics on impaired driving incidents, crashes, and related fatalities.

According to the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center, there were over 22,000 crashes reported in 2022 where alcohol and/or drugs were a contributing factor. During National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, law enforcement agencies in Michigan typically increase their efforts to detect and deter impaired driving. This may include public awareness campaigns and increased patrols.

Driving under the influence (DUI) can result in many serious consequences such as a devastating crash or serious injury. There are also many legal consequences and Secretary of State sanctions.

A DUI conviction could result in points on your driving record, restricted, suspended, or even the revocation of driving privileges. The court can also Order jail/prison time, fines, community service, vehicle immobilization, forfeiture, substance abuse counseling, and ignition interlock, to name a few.

The Secretary of State will provide additional licensing sanctions based on the driving history of an individual, as recorded on their Master Driving record. People that have 2 DUI convictions within a 7-year period will receive additional consequences. The increased possible penalties for a 2nd offense (prior DUI conviction within 7 years) include a minimum 1-year license revocation and mandatory vehicle immobilization.

A 3rd offense requires at least 2 prior DUI convictions in a lifetime. A DUI 3rd conviction (and beyond) is a felony. The felony conviction carries a mandatory minimum 30 days in jail. The possible penalties also increase significantly, including up to 5 years in prison for a true 3rd DUI conviction.

Ultimately, these consequences are designed to deter individuals from engaging in risky behavior and ultimately protect the community. Recovery courts have made a significant impact by helping people attain and maintain sobriety. With the right tools, resources, and support, we can help people down the path to recovery.

For the most recent and up-to-date information on Michigan's National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, including statistics and initiatives for the latest year, I recommend checking with local law enforcement agencies, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, and the Michigan State Police.

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