Michigan Alcohol Laws
Where to Buy Alcohol
While beer and wine are available in privately owned retail stores, spirits are only sold in state-owned stores, called ABC or package stores. Alcoholic beverages cannot be sold before noon on Sunday and from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Monday through Saturday.
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
The legal drinking age in Michigan is 21, but an individual can be 18 years old and legally work as a server in a restaurant that sells alcohol or as a bartender. 18 is the legal age to handle or sell wine or spirits in a package store.
Open Container Laws
No one in a vehicle may consume alcohol, so previously opened containers of alcohol must be carried in the trunk of a vehicle where the driver and passengers do not have access.
The highest legal BAC (blood-alcohol content) allowed by law is .08 percent. Over this level, a driver is considered to be ‘per se intoxicated’ and can be charged with DUI (driving under the influence) based on this evidence alone.
Drivers under the age of 21 are discouraged from drinking and driving by ‘zero tolerance laws,’ which do not allow the underage driver to have a BAC over .02 percent. The consequences of underage drinking and driving are DUI penalties.
Michigan does have ‘enhanced penalty BAC’ laws, which are harsher penalties for drivers who greatly exceed the legal limit of .08 percent. This is called the "Michigan super drunk law."
‘Implied consent laws’ require drivers who are suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) to cooperate with a law enforcement officer’s request for chemical testing (breath, blood, or urine) for intoxication. Refusing to cooperate carries possible suspension of driving privileges for six months for the first DUI conviction and one year for the second offense.
Vehicle confiscation is a possibility in Michigan with the second DUI conviction. A second conviction can also gain a driver mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device at the driver’s expense. Alcohol abuse education, treatment, or assessment can be required for DUI offenders.
Some DUI offenses are considered felonies under Michigan law.