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Michigan city seeks to use local ordinance to enforce "Super Drunk" law

People arrested in Northville, Michigan, on suspicion of being "super drunk" might not notice anything different after their drunk driving charge. The budget of the local court might, however.

The city council in Northville will vote later this month on a recommendation from the police chief to develop a local ordinance under which to prosecute those who have a blood alcohol content of 0.17 percent or more at the time of arrest.

Michigan has such a state law in place. However, when an offender pays a fine under the state law, the state receives the funds. If the city had such a law, the money for the fines would stay at the local level.

The Northville police chief said by passing such an ordinance, the city would help the court with its financing and also might see some additional funds since the court returns excess money to local jurisdictions.

Under the current "Super Drunk" law, as it is known, a violator could spend up to six months in jail. Some drivers convicted under this law also could see greater sanctions and spend one year in alcohol rehabilitation. Should a local ordinance be adopted, the city could jail offenders for about half that time.

The state law took effect in 2009. Since then, current Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a bill that allows cities and communities throughout the state to pass and enforce their own version of the "Super Drunk" law.

It is unknown if police officers in local jurisdictions that have such ordinances could become more zealous in pulling over suspected drunk drivers, knowing their communities could stand to benefit financially. The "super drunk" label carries a reward for communities, but big punishments for drivers.

Source: Observer & Eccentric, "Super drunk' drivers better beware in Northville," Lonnie Huhman, Aug. 23, 2012

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