No one can deny that DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is a recurrent problem in the United States. Around 29 people die in the US every day due to motor vehicle crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers. The annual cost of such accidents can reach up to $44 billion, which incredibly cripples the finances of the victims and the accused alike.
Accidents like these are not just an individual’s problem. These accidents severely impair the community.
Even teenagers under the age of 21 commit DUI and experience accidents that have grave consequences on their future. Responding to DUI should be a community effort, and the local governments need to be involved as well. That is the reason why local governments like Michigan have actively responded to these cases through smart and strict legislation.
Zero Tolerance Law: Michigan’s Hard Stance on Underage DUI Cases
Local governments like Michigan has taken a hard stance against DUI cases, especially those that involve individuals under 21 who have even the tiniest amount of alcohol in their system. They call it the Zero Tolerance Law. It is a misdemeanor criminal offense that allows authorities to book drivers under the age of 21 who have been proven to have even a minimal amount of alcohol in their system.
In the Zero Tolerance Law, it is illegal for individuals younger than 21 to consume alcohol and operate a vehicle afterwards. If they even have as little as 0.02% (but not more than 0.08%) of blood alcohol concentration level, they can be arrested under the Zero Tolerance Law.
The Zero Tolerance Law has been successful in curbing underage DUIs in Michigan. Studies found that fatalities caused by drunk driving have decreased by 2.3% from 2012 to 2013. The average rate continues to climb down through the years.
Penalties under Michigan’s Zero Tolerance Law
If you have been found guilty of driving under the influence while under the age of 21 in Michigan, you could face various types of penalties. Here are some of the penalties you’ll face for conviction of a first offense underage DUI in Michigan:
- Fine or Community Service or both
You can face up to a $250 fine or up to 360 hours of community service on your first offense. In some cases, you can even face both under particular circumstances.
- Driver’s License Restriction
If found guilty, your driver’s license can get restricted for 30 days.
- Offender’s Driving Record
Authorities will add 4 points to the offender’s driving record. As these points accumulate, it can be harder for an individual to get their driver’s license renewed. Once it reaches the threshold level, authorities could revoke it.
- Driver Responsibility Fee of $500 for 2 Consecutive Years
For two consecutive years, people guilty of underage DUI are required to give a driver’s responsibility fee of $500.
The penalties under Michigan’s Zero Tolerance law might not be worrying to most, but these already have severe implications for individuals under the age of 21. For repeat offenders (second conviction), the consequences will get even worse. The penalty for a second charge within seven years can be up to 93 days in jail. For offenses done more than two times, the charge will equate to two or more DUI convictions in addition to an already-existing Zero Tolerance conviction.
Why You Should Find a Dependable Lawyer to Represent Your Case
When you are under the age of 21, the formative years of your life are yet to come. You still need to establish yourself in order to get a good glimpse of your future, and your current records can influence the opportunities you may have.
If you are found guilty of driving under the influence while being below 21 years old, then your record will likely take a hit. It may cost you internship opportunities and educational scholarships, among others. You can be easily dismissed and judged by others because of what you’ve done. It is, therefore, necessary that you do not drive under the influence to avoid such convictions.
However, if you are guilty of being under the influence while driving, then you need the help of experienced legal representatives. You need to defend yourself as best as you can, and what better way to do it than contacting those who know how to do their job well?
If you want quality representation in your Michigan Zero Tolerance DUI case, contact Lansing criminal attorneys at The Clark Law Office now! We have been in the business of giving individuals the best defense for whatever case they may have, including Zero Tolerance DUIs. Contact us now to see what we can do for you!