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Michigan DUI Laws for Drivers Under 21

In Michigan, a motorist can be charged with a number of offenses related to operating while intoxicated, or OWI, which is also referred to as DUI, or driving under the influence. If you are over the legal drinking age of 21, you can be charged with an OWI/DUI if your blood-alcohol level is above 0.08. What many people do not realize is that the blood-alcohol limit is significantly lower for a driver who is under the age of 21. In fact, you can be charged with the offense of OWI/DUI if your blood-alcohol level is above 0.02 if you are under the age of 21 at the time you are stopped.

The relevant Michigan statute reads as follows:

(6) A person who is less than 21 years of age, whether licensed or not, shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, within this state if the person has any bodily alcohol content. As used in this subsection, “any bodily alcohol content” means either of the following:

(a) An alcohol content of 0.02 grams or more but less than 0.08 grams per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath, or per 67 milliliters of urine, or, beginning October 1, 2013, the person has an alcohol content of 0.02 grams or more but less than 0.10 grams per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath, or per 67 milliliters of urine.

(b) Any presence of alcohol within a person’s body resulting from the consumption of alcoholic liquor, other than consumption of alcoholic liquor as a part of a generally recognized religious service or ceremony.

The potential penalties for a conviction of a Michigan DUI offense can be life-altering. Consider the following penalties for a driver under the age of 21 who is convicted of OWI/DUI in Michigan:

  • A first-time offender may be fined up to $500, sentenced to up to 360 hours of community service work, or both.
  • A second or subsequent offense carries with it a fine of up to $500, up to 60 days of community service work, and/or up to 93 days in prison.
  • If you have a passenger in the vehicle who is under the age of 16 at the time of the offense, you will face up to 93 days in prison, a fine of up to $500 and 60 days of community service. A driver under 21 who commits a second or subsequent DUI while a passenger under 16 is in the vehicle must pay a fine of $200 to $1,000. These offenders are also subject to a term of imprisonment of up to one year, community service of 30 to 90 days, or both.
  • Suspension of your driver’s license.
  • Increase in your car insurance rates.
  • Lost employment opportunities. 

How Can a Michigan Under 21 OWI/DUI Defense Attorney Help?

Although the possible penalties for a conviction of Michigan’s under 21 DUI law may have you worried, it is important to remember that it is a long way from an arrest to a conviction. That is where Michigan DUI attorney Paul J. Tafelski can help. You have rights, the most important of which is the right to present a defense. There are a number of things that a DUI defense attorney may do to protect your rights and defend your case, including:

  • Request a bond reduction if you are still incarcerated
  • Review all of the evidence the prosecution has against you
  • Review the in-dash video if one was present
  • Investigate whether any tests administered were conducted properly
  • Examine any equipment used in the testing procedures to ensure it was calibrated correctly
  • Look for anything that may have skewed the test results
  • Question any witnesses, including the law enforcement officer that made the arrest.

Our Michigan underage DUI defense attorney will diligently investigate your case to determine whether the prosecution has a solid case against you. If the decision is made to take your case to trial, then we will aggressively defend you at trial. If, on the other hand, a plea agreement appears to be in your best interest, then we will negotiate on your behalf to secure an agreement with terms that are acceptable to you. 

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