It is natural for teens and young adults in Michigan to want to exercise their freedom and enjoy life. This is especially true when they are in college and attending sporting events, parties and other gatherings where there might be a temptation to drink alcohol. This may be viewed as unavoidable, but it does not make it legal for those under 21 to do so. Nor does it mitigate penalties for a conviction.
If they make the mistake of getting behind the wheel, they can face long-term legal and personal challenges because of it. Michigan has a “zero tolerance” policy for underage drinking and driving. When there is an arrest, it is important for the underage person and their parents to know how to fight the case and try to achieve a positive result.
What penalties might be assessed for underage alcohol violations?
In Michigan, a driver under 21 who has any alcohol in their system will face charges for driving under the influence. For people 21 and older, registering a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher when tested will result in DUI charges. For people under 21, it is 0.02. If the underage driver has a 0.08 BAC, they might be charged with operating while intoxicated, which is an adult charge.
A first offense will result in the driver’s license being restricted for 30 days. To reinstate the license, it will cost $125. The driving record will be given four points. There can be fines costing as much as $250. The driver might need to perform community service and make a Driver Responsibility payment of $500 for two years. The penalties escalate if the underage driver is caught and convicted of DUI a second time within seven years.
Simply possessing alcohol can lead to civil charges, fines, the need to take part in substance abuse screenings and assessments—that the underage person must pay for—and, for those 18 and younger, their parents will be notified.
Young people should not let one mistake with a DUI charge define them
Young people make mistakes. It does not mean those mistakes should harm them for many years financially, personally and when they are seeking jobs. There are strategies to address underage DUI charges. There might have been a justifiable reason they seemed under the influence. The investigation could have been flawed. Or there may be avenues to have a treatment program instead of punishment.
For advice in these cases, having professional guidance in criminal defense is key from the beginning. Calling qualified professionals who understand DUI charges, the legal system and know how to fight the charges is vital.