Teenage Drinking: What Your Teen Risks If Caught

What Your Teen Risks When Caught with Alcohol

Underage drinking is a serious problem. If you are concerned if your teen is drinking or have discovered they are, this article will shed light on the risks involved.

According to the Michigan Liquor Control Code of 1998 Section 436.1703,

“A minor shall not purchase or attempt to purchase alcoholic liquor, consume or attempt to consume alcoholic liquor, possess or attempt to possess alcoholic liquor, or have any bodily alcohol content, except as provided in this section. A minor who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by the following fines and sanctions and is not subject to the penalties prescribed in section 909:”

First Time Offense Penalties

If a minor is convicted for violating Michigan’s MIP (minor in possession) law, the sentencing may include any of the following,

  • A fine of $100 or less,
  • Ordered participation in a substance abuse prevention program,
  • Ordered community service,
  • Ordered to attend a substance abuse screening/assessment at the expense of the defendant.

If the minor is facing a second time offense or more the harsher the penalties will be. Harsher penalties could include jail sentencing.


There are few exceptions when minors can possess or even consume alcohol. Again, according to the Michigan Liquor Control Code of 1998 Section 436.1703,

  • Section 436.1703 (8): Employment: Minors may not consume alcohol while working, however they may possess alcohol during regular business hour. The place of employment must be a licensed establishment.
  • Section 436.1703 (9): Education: Under the direct supervision of a faculty member, minors may consume alcohol for the sole purpose of education and having it require for the course.
  • Section 436.1703 (11): Religion: During a religious ceremony or in connection with, minors may consume sacrificial wine.
  • Section 436.1703 (12, a & b): Undercover operations: During an undercover operation, under the direction of various law enforcement agencies, a minor may receive or purchase alcohol.

Likelihood of Your Teen Drinking

In a fact sheet complied by the Center for Disease Control, a survey was cited. The survey was completed in 2013 and it is called the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. It took a poll for teenagers and their drinking habits in the last 30 days. The following information below was their findings:

  • 35% drank some amount of alcohol.
  • 21% binge drank.
  • 10% drove after drinking alcohol.
  • 22% rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.

Other Risks of Teenage Drinking

The CDC also cites the following information as consequences of underage drinking,

  • School problems, such as higher absence and poor or failing grades.
  • Social problems, such as fighting and lack of participation in youth activities.
  • Legal problems, such as arrest for driving or physically hurting someone while drunk.
  • Physical problems, such as hangovers or illnesses.
  • Unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual activity.
  • Disruption of normal growth and sexual development.
  • Physical and sexual assault.
  • Higher risk for suicide and homicide.
  • Alcohol-related car crashes and other unintentional injuries, such as burns, falls, and drowning.
  • Memory problems.
  • Abuse of other drugs.
  • Changes in brain development that may have life-long effects.
  • Death from alcohol poisoning.

Drinking and Driving

Michigan has as Zero Tolerance offense for underage drinking and driving. According to the Secretary of State Department, it is illegal for someone under the age of 21 to,

  • Drive with a BAC (bodily alcohol content) of .02 or more.
  • Buy, possess, or consume alcohol. A Minor may transport alcohol if there is someone 21 years or older in the car.

If your teen is caught drinking and driving, their first offense may result in a fine of $250 and community service. Any OWI conviction within 7 years, even after the youth is over the age of 21, will result in harsher penalties.

If your teen has been charged with an MIP or OWI, make sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Please call my office at:

248-348-7400 or 586-530-1000