When A Little Can Be Intoxication: Drunk Driving Laws for Minors in Michigan

In the state of Michigan, when a minor is caught drinking and driving, the laws evolve into a more severe form of punishment.  In our state, unlike many others, those that decide to drink and drive under the age of 21, can face severe penalties even if they are sober at the time of the event.

Scott Grabel of Grabel and Associates is a foremost leader in the field of OUIL litigation in the state of Michigan.  Grabel reflected on a case he handled last year and spoke of how the laws for minors can have major consequences.  Grabel stated, “A client of ours threw a surprise party for his daughter’s high school graduation.  The daughter had two glasses of Champagne at her party, then drove to her house and was stopped for making an illegal turn.  The officer asked her if she had been drinking and nervously she said that she had.  She took a breathalyzer and blew a .022.  While the law in Michigan is clear that one is not legally intoxicated until they reach a .08, for minors the scale is lowered to a .02.  The young girl almost lost her scholarship and her life had been altered.  We proved that the breathalyzer had an issue with its calibration and had the case dismissed, but it is amazing how two glasses of Champagne could have destroyed this young woman’s life.”

Ravi Gurumurthy, an attorney in Cadillac, Michigan has also had experience in the drunk driving sector when dealing with minors.  Gurumurthy spoke of a case he recently had won: “In our case the minor blew a .03 after a blood sample was taken.  The police mishandled the sample and that won the day but there is some debate whether the officer should have stopped my client in the first place.  My client was a college student with a perfect record but having a beer and being under the legal limit almost cost him greatly.  The law is not fair and we need to have a firm understanding when we take these cases or our clients will be the ones to suffer.”

When we look at the issue of minors drinking and driving, the best advice is to not have any liquor at all if you decide to get behind the wheel. It is crucial to understand that the legal limits are dramatically lowered for those that choose to drink under the age of 21.  Armed with this information, a minor could prevent a major problem.

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