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Stiff Penalties For Underage Drinking and Driving in Michigan

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Stiff Penalties For Underage Drinking and Driving in Michigan

Being charged with drunk driving in Michiganis bad news for anyone, but it is especially serious for drivers under the age of 21.image

Michigan has a “zero tolerance” law that prohibits underage motorists from operating a motor vehicle after drinking – even if they are not legally drunk.

Drivers can be charged with the offense of OWI/DUI if their blood-alcohol level is above 0.02 and they are younger than 21 when they are stopped. If their blood alcohol level exceeds 0.08, they can be charged with the more serious offense of driving while intoxicated.

Either way, the penalties can be severe. A charge of underage OWI/DUI in Michigan can mean:

  • A fine of up to $500 for a first offense;
  • A sentence of up to 360 hours of community service work for a first offense;
  • Suspension of driver’s license;
  • Increase in automobile insurance rates;
  • Harsher consequences if there is a passenger under the age of 16 at the time of the offense;
  • Second or subsequent offenses will result in enhanced penalties including prison time.

Underage Drinking and Driving in Michigan

Here is an excerpt from the Michigan statute pertaining to underage drinking and driving:

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.

In 2011, there were 38 alcohol-impaired driving deaths in Michigan involving underage drivers.

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