One of the biggest reasons why drunk driving is punished so severely is because some drunk drivers cause serious accidents that leave people severely injured. That is not what happened in this case, however. A Michigan man was arrested for operating while intoxicated, but it wasn't a car he was driving, but a wheelchair.
Now, the man is being held and may face very serious criminal charges, a fine or time behind bars if he is convicted of drunk driving. According to police, the 55-year-old had been arrested six other times for drunk driving, but never before on a wheelchair.
Operating a motorized wheelchair doesn't sound like the driving that Michigan legislators were afraid of when they passed laws that made it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content over 0.08. It is unclear if prosecutors will actually be able to keep these charges alive or if they will eventually have to drop them, but for right now, this Utica man will be in very serious trouble for driving a wheelchair while intoxicated.
When police arrested him they say he had a blood alcohol level of 0.241.
Many people in Michigan believe that drunk driving charges aren't that serious, but when someone has been charged numerous times, he or she increases the likelihood that he or she will be subject to a steep fine, a suspended driver's license or jail time. Additionally, a drunk driving conviction remains on your record, even after you have completed your punishment.
Source: USA Today, "Mich. man arrested for DUI -- in stolen wheelchair," Michael Winter, June 8, 2012