Like most areas of the United States, the legal limit for a DUI is .08 – but if you’re underage, the laws apply differently.
Because you can’t legally consume alcohol under the age of 21, the state of Michigan has separate drinking and driving laws. If you’re under 21, you can still be charged with underage DUI if your BAC is between .02 and .08. If your BAC is over .08, you will be charged with the same DUI as anyone else.
Underage DUI: Consequences
If you are found guilty of underage DUI (meaning your BAC was .02 to .08), your first conviction will not be nearly as serious as a traditional DUI. You will not receive jail time, as long as it is your first conviction and you’re under the limit of .08.
Regardless, there are still consequences that can inconvenience you drastically. Most of those who are convicted must pay a hefty fine and perform over 300 hours of community service.
Also, you’ll most likely receive a lengthy probation sentence. If you face other charges within this period, you’ll probably suffer much more significant consequences. Even if your second DUI is between .02 and .08, you will face much harsher punishments if it’s not your first time offending.
Regular DUI While Underage
If you’re under the age of 21, you can still face standard DUI charges if you have a BAC level of over .08. This form of charge is much more severe than typical DUI charges – this is because the BAC level is much more dangerous for other drivers on the road.
If it’s your first conviction, you can go to jail for up to 93 days and face severe fines and community service orders. Also, you can suffer much more severe penalties if your BAC level is over .17.
For those who are caught multiple times drinking and driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, mandatory prison sentences and hefty fines may be handed down to you from the Michigan courts.
Don’t assume because you’re underage that the court system in Michigan won’t punish you as harshly as if you were over the age of 21. If you’re accused of having a BAC of .08 or higher, you’ll need to choose the right lawyers to help you avoid convictions and harsh punishments.
Issues That Can Enhance Your Sentence
While the primary component of any DUI charge is your BAC and level of impairment, other factors may enhance your conviction. Courts and prosecutors aim to punish individuals who appear to have put others at risk.
For example, if you are driving under the influence and you have passengers in your vehicle that are under the age of 16, you will most likely face much harsher punishments. Courts are incredibly harsh on individuals who drive under the influence while transporting young passengers.
Issues Stemming from Conviction
If you’re convicted of an underage DUI, or a regular DUI while underage, you may face a variety of issues that can impact your life. Having a DUI charge listed on your record can prevent you from obtaining employment or entering certain educational institutions.
The impact of this can be severely damaging to your education or career. Worse yet, if your DUI is bad enough, it may stay on your record for years to come.
Also, you will have your license suspended for a minimum of 30 days. If you have a job that requires you to drive, this may result in a loss of employment.
When you’re considering defending yourself from a DUI charge, it’s essential to consider more than the immediate criminal consequences or fines. Don’t damage your future prospects by fighting a case on your own!
Tackling Your Charges
As with any legal charge, it’s essential to tackle DUI charges right away. If you’re being prosecuted for an underage DUI, you need to work with attorneys that have considerable experience in the DUI area of law.
At O’Keefe Law, our DUI attorneys have considerable experience fighting underage DUI cases. We understand the complexities of the law and work hard to win your case. If you want the best chance of having charges dropped or overturned, you need to work with a firm that understands the specifics of underage DUI law.
Don’t wait until your case progresses past the point of no return – get in contact with O’Keefe Law today.