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Michigan Legal Limit

There are two ways to get charged with drunk driving in Michigan. A law enforcement officer may conclude from your behavior, appearance, and smell that you are intoxicated. The other, more common source of drunk driving charges is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test result that shows that you were over the legal limit while you were driving. It is much more difficult – although certainly not impossible – to refute charges based on a failed BAC test.

For this reason, it is important for all drivers to understand what the legal limit is. Perhaps even more importantly, drivers should remember to never drive with any alcohol in their systems – it’s the only way to be certain to avoid criminal charges for operating while intoxicated (OWI).

If you do get charged, do not plead guilty before consulting with an experienced Detroit DUI attorney. Even if you think your case is helpless, there may be defense strategies available to you.

Call Davis Law Group today at to find out how we can help you.

What Is the Legal Limit in Michigan?

For most drivers, the legal limit in Michigan is a .08 percent blood concentration of alcohol. But for drivers under 21 years of age, any detectable amount of alcohol will trigger both administrative penalties and criminal charges. For people operating commercial vehicles, the legal limit is .04 percent.

The police may determine your BAC at the roadside by giving you a preliminary breathalyzer test. The result of this first test cannot be used as evidence at your criminal trial – it only serves to give the officer probable cause to arrest you for drunk driving. Once in custody, the authorities will make you take a blood, urine, or breath test. The result of this test will be used as evidence against you. You can deny the prosecutor’s ability to use this evidence by refusing the test, but then your driver’s license will automatically be suspended.

What Factors Can Affect My BAC?

Every person metabolizes alcohol differently, but it’s possible to make approximate predictions of someone’s BAC based on their weight alone. These numbers are estimates only, and you should remember that the only sure way of avoiding a drunk driving charge is to never drink before getting behind the wheel. Here’s how many drinks people of different weights can generally have before hitting a BAC of .08 percent:

  • 100 pounds – 2 drinks
  • 120 pounds – 2 drinks
  • 140 pounds – 3 drinks
  • 160 pounds – 3 drinks
  • 180 pounds – 4 drinks
  • 200 pounds – 4 drinks
  • 220 pounds – 5 drinks
  • 240 pounds – 5 drinks

These estimates assume that a drink is equivalent to 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, 12 ounces of beer, or five ounces of wine. Unless you’re carefully serving your own drinks, you may have no idea how much alcohol is in each drink you consume. And, even if you ensure that your BAC is under .08 percent, you can still get charged with drunk driving if the officer senses that you are under the influence of alcohol.

Furthermore, people of the same weight will have varying BACs after drinking the same amount of alcohol because of differences in their:

  • Age – Young people tend to metabolize alcohol better
  • Gender – Women usually have a smaller proportion of water in their bodies than men, so alcohol affects them more
  • Body type – Muscle has a relatively high water content, so people with more athletic builds may have a lower BAC after drinking
  • Medications – Many drugs, even those sold over the counter, can react negatively with alcohol and cause you to be intoxicated after only a drink or two
  • Food – Your BAC will rise faster if you drink on an empty stomach
  • Genetic predisposition – Some people just get intoxicated faster than others, while others are able to break down the alcohol in their systems more efficiently

Davis Law Group is here To Help

If you still get charged with drunk driving despite all of your precautions, you will need to act fast to avoid the harsh penalties of a conviction. You should retain the services of a reputable Michigan drunk driving lawyer who can counsel you and advocate on your behalf at administrative and criminal proceedings. At Davis Law Group, we have built our reputation on our ability to help our clients obtain positive resolutions to their OWI cases.

Call us today at for a free and confidential consultation.