Teen and Underage Driver's License Suspension
Everyone knows that the state of Michigan takes drinking and driving very seriously, but underage drinking and driving is even more dangerous. Consequently, Michigan has very strict penalties when it comes to any juvenile offenses involving alcohol. If you are underage and facing possession, consumption, or transportation of alcohol charges, then you are at risk of losing your driving privileges. Our driver's license restoration attorney has the experience working with underage clients to fight to protect your criminal record and your driving privileges.
Minor in Possession (MIP)
A first MIP is a state civil infraction with a fine of $100. This is a gift, and may only be used one time, because a first offense used to be a misdemeanor criminal charge in Michigan. You can be ordered to participate in community service and drug and alcohol abuse screening for a first offense. Additionally, there is no mandatory license suspension for a first offense state civil infraction of a MIP. However, a second offense MIP is more serious and is a misdemeanor crime. The misdemeanor has a 30-day maximum jail sentence and a $200 fine. Additionally, there is a mandatory 30-day suspension of driving privileges followed by an additional 60 days of driving on a restricted license.
A person who is operating a vehicle may not have an open container of alcohol. Open is defined to mean if the seal is broken in the passenger area. Consequently, any bottle or container that has a broken seal and is not in the trunk of the vehicle is accessible to passengers and is considered open. If a person is found to have operated a vehicle with an open container of alcohol, then he or she can be convicted of a misdemeanor under MCL 257.624a. The maximum penalty for driving with an open container is community service and required substance abuse screening. There is no mandatory suspension of driving privileges for a first offense of driving with an open container. However, for a second offense there is a mandatory 30 suspension followed by a 90-day restricted driving period.
Transportation of Alcohol
Under MCL 257.624b, a person may not knowingly transport or possess alcohol in a vehicle if they are under 21 years of age. This law applies even if the alcohol is unopened in the vehicle, unless there is a person who is at least 21 years of age in the vehicle. A violation of this law is a misdemeanor with a penalty of community service and substance abuse screening. Thankfully, there is no mandatory suspension of your driver’s license for a first offense, but if you are convicted a second time there is a 30-day mandatory suspension followed by 60 days of restricted driving. Additionally, if you are convicted of transporting alcohol, then the arresting officer has an option to make a complaint to the court and request your vehicle to be impounded. This can be an extra penalty and inconvenience in addition to the other punishments.
Michigan Underage Zero Tolerance on Alcohol
A person who is under 21 years of age cannot operate a vehicle on a public road accessible to the general public and may not have “any bodily alcohol content.” A person found in violation will be guilty of a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of up to 93 days in jail, 60 days community service, and a $500 fine. Additionally, once the Secretary of State receives a copy of the conviction from the court, then they will place you on a restricted license for 30 days for a first offense and suspend your license for 90 days for a second offense. Let us examine the law to understand the exact parameters of zero tolerance. “Any bodily alcohol content” is described in MCL 257.625(6)a as an alcohol content of 0.02 grams or more but less than 0.08 grams per 100 milliliters of blood.
Therefore, although the law is known as a “zero tolerance” conviction, there is actually a .02 BAC threshold. However, if we look at MCL 257.625(6) b, the statute specifies that if there is any presence of alcohol within a person’s body “resulting from the consumption of alcoholic liquor,” then the person can also be charged with the misdemeanor. The inclusion of the modifier “resulting from the consumption of alcoholic liquor” does make the limit for people under 21 truly zero tolerance if it can be shown any trace amounts of alcohol came from consumption of alcohol. Therefore, it appears as though the statute has left a .02 BAC margin of error for trace amounts of alcohol resulting from consumption of certain foods or false positives, except if it can be shown even those trace amounts of alcohol resulted from the consumption of alcohol, then the person can still be charged with the offense. The one caveat is that the law allows trace amounts of alcohol that are a result of consuming alcohol as part of an accepted religious service. Therefore, if you are on your way back from church and you get stopped and have a trace amount of alcohol in your system, then you would not be convicted of the zero-tolerance law under MCL 257.625.
Under MCL 750.414, a person can be convicted of a misdemeanor for taking or using a vehicle without the intent to steal the vehicle. This crime specifies that there is no intent to steal. Consequently, this misdemeanor most commonly occurs if a person takes their parents car without their permission, or another similar scenario where a person takes a vehicle and intends to return it from where they took it. This misdemeanor crime is most commonly referred to as “joyriding.” Joyriding has a maximum penalty of up to 2 years imprisonment and a $1,500 fine. If you are convicted of joyriding, then the court will send an abstract of conviction to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will send you a notice by mail that your driver’s license is suspended for 90 days.
Minor Who Uses a Fake ID to Purchase or Attempts to Purchase Alcohol
If an underage, juvenile attempts to purchase alcohol by furnishing a fake identification, then he or she may be charged and convicted with a misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for this misdemeanor under MCL 436.1703 is 93 days in jail and a $100 fine, but this crime also carries a mandatory 90-day suspension of all driving privileges.
Being underage is a very pivotal time in any person’s life, because you still have your entire life in front of you. Protecting your future and your opportunities is of the greatest importance. It is crucial to hire an attorney who will be focused on your final outcome and keep your future in mind. You need someone who will work to understand the particular nuances of your case and work with you to develop the best overall comprehensive legal defense strategy possible.
Our attorneys are familiar with frequent problems that occur involving blood and breath test technology, field sobriety testing, and common police mistakes that could help to create a more favorable outcome in your case. Review our testimonials and decide for yourself. You can contact Grabel & Associates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to begin the process of formulating your legal defense strategy with a free consultation. Call 1-800-677-9795 today!