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Michigan police increase OWI patrols over Fourth of July weekend

This weekend is the Fourth of July and as with any large scale birthday celebration, people will be attending parties and enjoying good times with family and friends. Many Fourth of July celebrations may involve time on the lake, grilling out, and enjoying drinks on the back porch.

But as the holiday weekend approaches, Michigan drivers should be aware that local and state law enforcement will be increasing their presence on the roads. There are a number of counties throughout the state that will be adding extra patrols to target drivers who may be operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Starting July 1, Michigan drivers can expect to see more officers looking for drunk drivers. The push is expected to go until July 10, spanning the holiday weekend. But patrols will not just be looking for drivers under the influence of alcohol; they will also be watching for any driver who may be driving while impaired, whether that is from alcohol or drugs.

The heightened concern comes from an increase in accidents due to alcohol and drugs in the state. Additionally, statistics from last year show that over the Fourth of July holiday weekend there were two fatalities from motor vehicle accidents caused by impaired driving. It is likely that many more were injured in accidents during that same period of time.

If pulled over and charged with an OWI, drivers can expect a number of different penalties. Even a first offense OWI could result in a jail sentence, hundreds of dollars in fines, and community service. If a driver's blood-alcohol content is greater than .17, they could be penalized under Michigan's "super drunk" law which would result in stiffer penalties.

Source: Rockford Independent online, "Drunken driving crackdown begins prior to Fourth of July," 27 June 2011

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