All operating while impaired charges in Michigan are serious, but even more so for people who are underage. If you are going to consume alcohol before you turn 21 years old, you are facing some very serious charges if you decide to drink and drive. The same is true if you use drugs and then drive.
Knowing some important points about underage OWI can help you make better decisions with respect to how to conduct yourself after you've been partying with friends. These points can also help you feel better informed if you are facing criminal charges for underage OWI.
Blood-alcohol concentration limit is lowered
While the legal BAC limit for most drivers in Michigan is .08 percent, it is much lower for drivers who aren't 21 or older yet. The Zero Tolerance law comes into the picture here. The legal limit for underage drivers is .02 percent. Technically, any measurable alcohol can lead to a drunk driving charge. The only exception here is if you consumed the alcohol as part of a religious ceremony. Interestingly, even if you only have alcohol in your vehicle but haven't had any to drink, you can still face a misdemeanor charge for being in possession of alcohol unless someone in your vehicle is 21 or older.
Drugged driving is also illegal
Impaired driving isn't limited only to alcohol. If you have a measurable quantity of a Schedule I drug or cocaine in your system, you can face a charge for Operating with Any Presence of a Schedule 1 Drug or Cocaine based on the presence of drugs in your system. In this case, you don't have to show any signs of being impaired. This charge is based on the information gathered in a chemical test.
Options exist to avoid impaired driving
Just because you are out partying with friends, you don't have to face imp aired driving charges. Instead, you can plan ahead so that you aren't going to drive. This means that you find a designated driver before you leave or that you make plans to take public transportation home.
If you didn't make plans ahead of time and find that you aren't able to drive home, find out if you can stay at the party host's house or with one of your friends who lives nearby. If these aren't possible, you need to call someone to find out who can pick you up. It is best to exhaust every possible option so that you won't have to defend yourself against OWI charges.