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What is Michigan’s Under 21 Zero Tolerance Law?

Jul 17th, 2018 DUI DUI Defense What is Michigan’s Under 21 Zero Tolerance Law?

You are a drunk driver if you are under 21 years of age in Michigan, drink any amount of alcohol and then drive a car.  This is called the Michigan zero-tolerance drunk driving law. To fully understand this law, it is important to know how “any amount of alcohol” is defined.  Michigan’s Compiled Laws 257.625(6)(a) and (b) provide as follows:

As used in this subsection, “any bodily alcohol content” (BAC) means either having an alcohol content of 0.02 grams or more but less than 0.08 grams or having the presence of any alcohol within a person’s body resulting from the consumption of alcoholic liquor.

If you are under 21 years of age, and have an alcohol content of .08 or more, then you will be charged with an “adult” drunk driving, which carries greater punishments and a more draconian driver license sanction.

Also, if you are under 21, have any alcohol in your system while driving a car with an occupant under 16, then you are also guilty of a more serious charge.  The punishment for this crime 1 or more of the following: (A) Community service for not more than 60 days. (B) A fine of not more than $500.00. (C) Imprisonment for not more than 93 days.

A minor BAC zero-tolerance drunk driving can be used to enhance a subsequent drunk driving to a second offense, which again carries more serious penalties and driver license sanctions.

There is a defense to an under 21 BAC charge and this is set forth in subsection 6b and that is for consumption of alcoholic liquor as a part of a generally recognized religious service or ceremony.  Consequently, partaking in the sacramental wine and then driving does not violate the law in Michigan unless you drink so much that you’re above the proscribed legal limits.

If you violate this section of Michigan’s drunk driving laws then you are guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by 1 or both of the following: (i) Community service for not more than 360 hours and, (ii) A fine of not more than $250.00.  The driver license sanction is a restricted license for 30 days, along with four points added to your driving record.