Driving under the influence is treated seriously in Michigan, with laws targeting both lower and higher blood-alcohol levels. Anyone driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher risks getting charged with DUI, which means that most people have some leeway if they go out and have a drink, though they still need to be careful about how much they drink and turning over their car keys if they become impaired.
However, if you’re under 21, you face special restrictions. Not only are you not supposed to be drinking in the first place, but you can also be charged with DUI if you have even minuscule amounts of alcohol in your system. That means you face harsh punishment even if you don’t appear impaired.
Instead of 0.08, drivers under the age of 21 can’t have blood-alcohol levels higher than 0.02. It takes a miniscule amount of alcohol to reach that level, which means that someone taking a few sips of beer could easily surpass that if his or her body didn’t process the alcohol quickly. While you might not think that a few sips would really impair most people, that doesn’t matter if police are manning DUI checkpoints and give all motorists breathalyzer tests, or if the person who has been drinking gets pulled over for something else, and the police officer notices the smell of alcohol on the person. Because the level of alcohol needed to trigger DUI charges is so low, a driver under the age of 21 doesn’t have to seem impaired to face charges.
Michigan police are aware that some religions include small amounts of alcohol in their services. Michigan law does recognize that someone under the age of 21 may have a little alcohol in his or her system after these services. However, that does not mean that you can chug several glasses of wine and call it a religious experience. These allowed amounts of alcohol are very small, and you would have to prove that you had just come from one of these services. More importantly, you cannot appear to be impaired. If you have some wine during a church ceremony, and you appear drunk afterward, you can still be charged with DUI.