Underage DUI Charges
Many young people mistakenly assume that criminal convictions as a minor or a young person are not a big deal. This is an unfortunate misconception that has driven many youthful offenders to make mistakes that follow them far into the future. Underage DUI charges in Lansing can be severe. If you’ve been charged with an underage OWI, it’s important to contact an OWI defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and begin taking steps toward the best possible resolution.
Michigan Law Covering Underage DUI Charges
Underage offenders face the same stiff penalties as people over 21 when they are caught driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher; however, they may also be charged under provisions of Michigan’s zero tolerance policy. This means that for people under 21, NO amount of alcohol in the blood is permissible when they’re behind the wheel. While someone 21 or over may not face criminal penalties when their blood alcohol content is between .02 and .07, someone under 21 will.
Underage offenders charged with an OWI zero tolerance offense may face:
- A $250 fine and 360 hours of community service for a first offense
- Up to 93 days in jail, a $500 fine and 60 days of community service for a second offense within seven years of a prior conviction.
It’s important to note that these restrictions apply to underage drinkers returning from Canada where it is legal to consume alcohol at age 19. Even if you were in Canada drinking legally, once you’ve crossed over into Michigan, you can still be charged with an OWI zero tolerance offense.
Other Possible Consequences
On top of jail time and hundreds of dollars in fines, you could face a variety of other consequences after an OWI zero tolerance conviction.
- Points on your license and inflated insurance premiums – Young people who are convicted under this provision will have four points added to their driving record. If this is in addition to a number of other points due to other violations, you could face additional sanctions on top of what you receive for your OWI conviction. Additionally, your insurance rates will increase markedly. Young people, especially those under 26, are higher risk drivers and already pay higher insurance rates. You can expect an underage OWI conviction to raise those premiums significantly for at least a couple of years.
- Suspended license – First-time offenders under this provision will have a restricted license for 30 days. Subsequent offenses will result in outright suspension for 90 days or a minimum of 1 year if your prior conviction was for drunk driving (BAC of .08 or higher).
- Other fees – You will be required to pay a driver responsibility fee of $500 for two years in a row, and there may be even more costs associated with your conviction. If you are sentenced to some kind of probation or monitoring, you will have to submit to random drug and alcohol testing. You will have to make time to appear for the testing and pay for each test.
- Inability to pass a background check – If you’re under 21, chances are there are still many open chapters in your life story. An OWI zero tolerance conviction could be a frustrating roadblock to securing your dream job or being admitted to college. At the very least, this blight on your record may make you a less viable applicant, and it may cost you some opportunities altogether.
How A Lansing DUI Attorney Can Help You
Facing criminal charges is frustrating and stressful. Your lawyer knows that, and is here to guide you through the process and help you resolve your case as favorably as possible. They will listen to the details of your story and thoroughly investigate any other possible evidence or witness statements. Once they have a clear picture of the circumstances of your unique case, they can explain to you how it will likely progress, what the possible outcomes are and advise you on how best to move forward. Your lawyer will advocate for your interests and make sure your rights are respected and upheld as your case unfolds.
Every case is different, but your OWI defense attorney may:
- Conduct a thorough interview of you and any witnesses
- Thoroughly review and investigate arrest reports, lab reports, and any and all evidence against you
- Verify that the breathalyzer machine used on you was calibrated correctly with proper documentation
- Verify the veracity and standards of the lab where your sample was tested
- Look for inconsistencies in any evidence against you
- Verify that all evidence was preserved and documented to meet the standards of Michigan law
These are just a few of the many ways that a Lansing DUI attorney will help you navigate your charges. To find out more about how a criminal defense attorney can help you and to begin having your case evaluated, contact DeBruin Law, PLLC at 517-731-0353.