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In Michigan, it is unlawful for individuals younger than 21 years of age to consume alcohol. Under the state's Zero Tolerance law, any individual who is under the age of 21 and found to have a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .02% or greater may be arrested for driving under the influence, or as it is referred to in the state, OWI (operating while intoxicated) Zero Tolerance offense. Ingham County DUI attorney Nicholas Leydorf is committed to protecting those accused of violating Michigan's Zero Tolerance law from the serious consequences that may result from a conviction.
In Lansing and throughout the state, the legal BAC limit is 0.08%. This means that any individual who is found to have a level of alcohol greater than this percentage after a blood/breath test may be charged with OWI. However, if an individual is under the age of 21, then they may be charged with Zero Tolerance if their BAC is 0.02% or greater. In addition, if a driver younger than 21 is found to have a BAC of .08% or above, he or she may be charged with standard DUI rather than a Zero Tolerance offense. This will result in much harsher punishment.Penalties for OWI Zero Tolerance Offense in Ingham County and Throughout Michigan
While a first-time Zero Tolerance offender will not generally serve jail time, he or she will face penalties that include a fine of up to $250 and 360 hours of community service. However, any person who is charged with a DUI offense within seven years of being charged with a Zero Tolerance offense will face penalties incurred for a DUI second offense, rather than a first offense. Essentially, this means that your driver's license may be suspended/revoked, and you will potentially face up to 1 year in jail along with community service, a fine of at least $200 but not more than $1,000, and other potentially serious consequences. Like all other district court offenses, an individual convicted of OWI or Zero Tolerance may be placed on probation for up to 2 years. If an individual violates the terms and conditions of probation, then the penalty may include jail time.Should You Fight an OWI Zero Tolerance Charge?
Because there is usually no jail time involved with a Zero Tolerance or under 21 DUI offense in Michigan, you may believe that it is not necessary to fight the charge. As a talented Lansing OWI defense lawyer, Nicholas Leydorf knows just how important it is to contest the allegations being made against you. Should you be arrested or charged with any OWI offense in the future, a conviction for a Zero Tolerance offense will impact the severity of sentencing for future violations. In addition, an OWI conviction may also affect your ability to travel outside of the United States.
A third DUI offense in Michigan is generally charged as a felony, however this is not the case when someone has been convicted of a Zero Tolerance OWI offense when under 21 years of age. Essentially, a Zero Tolerance offense may only be used one time to enhance the charge of a second offense, which would have been charged as a first DUI offense had the offender not been convicted of an OWI Zero Tolerance offense. All of this sounds very complicated, which is another reason you should speak with an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Ingham County immediately if arrested for any drunk driving offense.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious crime in Michigan; those convicted will face not only serious penalties, but a criminal record which could impact employment opportunities and other aspects of their lives. Don't take chances, contact The Leydorf Law Firm now at (517) 388-6800.