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DUI criminal defense unlikely to be affected by expiring law

The legal blood-alcohol limit for driving in Michigan is .08, the same as many other states across the rest of the United States. This similarity in legal limits is not a coincidence, as federal funding for state highway needs are tied to keeping the BAC limit for driving at .08. Although this limit is set to expire soon, it is unlikely that it will affect the criminal defense for those accused of drunk driving.

Prior to 2003, the state's BAC limit was .10. That year the federal government decided that anything above .08 was too high and putting individuals at risk, and so it mandated that highway funding would only be given to states that lowered their legal limit. Michigan chose to do so, but it also built expiration dates into its laws.

Every few years, lawmakers must re-examine the .08 limit and how it affects the state. This was last done in 2013, when the law was renewed. Current lawmakers have until Oct. 2018 to take action and renew the law. Once they do, it will be set to expire again in 2021, when it will automatically revert to the higher legal limit of .10 unless action is taken.

A constantly expiring law regarding legal limits while driving can be understandably confusing for Michigan residents. However, since federal highway funding appears to be a high priority for lawmakers, it is unlikely that they will allow the law to expire and raise the BAC limit back to .10. Although it might be tempting to wait and see how lawmakers act, beginning criminal defense preparations as quickly as possible is usually the best idea when dealing with drunk driving charges.

Source:, "Legal Limit For Alcohol On Its Way To Governor's Desk", Cheyna Roth, Oct. 25, 2017

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