Michigan: Underage DUI

The drinking age in Michigan is 21 and consumption of alcohol by anyone under 21 is illegal with the following exceptions:  

  • for religious purposes – for example, drinking wine with religious ceremony, or
  • for government work – for example, if the underage drinker is working on government research or is working for the police, or
  • for educational purposes – for example, studying at a culinary school

Because underage drinkers cause a disproportionate number of alcohol-related auto fatalities, the standards are stricter and the penalties may be harsher for those under 21. 

More information about Michigan’s teen driving requirements.

What constitutes driving under the influence?

If a chemical test determines that a driver under 21 has a blood alcohol content BAC of .02% or higher, the driver can be cited for driving under the influence. (For those 21 or older, the BAC is .08%)

What are the penalties?

If First Drunk Driving Conviction: If BAC is between .02 and .08%, the driver is subject to a fine of $250 and 15 days of community service. If the BAC is above .08%, it is treated as an OWI with the following penalties: imprisonment (up to  93 days), fine ($100 to $500 plus 1,000 driver responsibility fee over next two years), license suspension (one to six months)(more information: First Offense DUI in Michigan).

If Second Drunk Driving Conviction within 7 Years: A second offense with a BAC between .02% and .08% within carries a maximum of 60 days community service and a fine of up to $500.00 If the BAC is above .08%, it is treated as an OWI with the following penalties: imprisonment (5 days to 1 year jail) fine ($200 up to $1,000) license suspension (1 year). (More Information: Second Offense DUI in Michigan.)

What if you refuse the chemical test? Read about Michigan implied consent laws.

What other charges?

In addition to driving under the influence, an underage drinker may be charged with any of the following:

  • distributing alcohol to other minors (were there underage drunk passengers?),
  • minor in possession,
  • soliciting alcohol,
  • child endangerment law violations,
  • possession of false identification (was a fake id used to purchase alcohol?), and
  • moving and vehicle maintenance violations (what else did the arresting officer see?).

What happens to insurance?

Some insurance companies may terminate a policy after an underage DUI (while others refuse to renew). Most companies simply raise the cost of the monthly premium by $100 to $200 (sometimes higher) for a higher risk policy. The raise usually stays in place for three to five years. You’ll also probably need to furnish the DMV with an SR-22 certificate to reinstate a license after suspension (as proof of insurability). Most insurance companies furnish this form to the DMV. Check with your insurer to see if it performs this service.

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