Michigan Senator Looks to Change Underage Drinking Law, Calls Current Rules ‘Too Harsh’
A Michigan senator who also has been a sheriff thinks the punishment for underage drinking in Michigan is too harsh and he's looking to change it.
State Sen. Rick Jones is championing an effort to change the law so that minors caught in possession of alcohol would not be charged with a crime until their third offense.
Under the current law, underage drinking is a misdemeanor, but Jones, a Republican from Grand Ledge, wants to change the law so the first two offenses wouldn't be crimes. Instead, the punishment would be civil fines.
Jones told our friends at WZZM-13 that minor-in-possession cases are "clogging up the court system, with some judges giving jail time and others not."
Jones formerly worked for the Eaton County Sheriff's Department for more than 30 years, including a stint as sheriff.
If adopted, there would be a $100 fine for a first offense and a $200 fine for a second offense.
Jones plans to introduce the legislation after spring break.
Currently, a minor-in-possession first offense is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $100.00 and community service, with no consequences against your driver’s license.
A second offense is punishable by probation, up to 30 days in jail for any probation violation, and up to a $200 fine. In addition, the minor's driver’s license is suspended for 30 days followed by a restricted license for 60 days.
In Michigan, the legal drinking age is 21 years old.