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Underage DUI in Michigan

DUI offenses for a person under the age of 21 in the state of Michigan carry heavier penalties and stricter BAC limits than a person over the age of 21. The legal BAC limit for a person of drinking age is 0.08, whereas the BAC limit for minors is 0.02. This limit is established by Michigan’s Zero Tolerance law. The only exception to Michigan’s Zero Tolerance law is if the alcohol in the minor’s blood is a result of observing a recognized religious service or custom. Having a BAC level between 0.02 and 0.08 usually results in a fine of up to $500, up to 260 hours of community service, or both. If the minor’s blood alcohol content is higher than 0.08, the minor could face OWI charges. Repeat offenses by a minor will lead to OWI charges, which carry more severe penalties.

If the minor refuses to take the portable breath test after being pulled over, the refusal results in a civil infraction of up to $100 and two points automatically added to the minor’s record. Furthermore, refusing to take the evidentiary breath test after arrest results in six points added to the minor’s driving record and suspension of the minor’s license for up to six months.

Although Michigan’s Zero Tolerance law leaves little options for a defendant, the minor can still challenge the probable cause for the vehicle stop and raise the religious service defense.


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