Archived Story

Rob Herbstreith: Help prevent minors from using alcohol

Published 11:01pm Wednesday, July 6, 2011

With the summer season of parties and open houses in full swing, this week, let’s discuss the laws concerning minors and alcohol.

624a Transportation or possession of alcoholic liquor in container open or uncapped or upon which seal broken (open container law) states: (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person who is an operator or occupant shall not transport or possess alcoholic liquor in a container that is open or uncapped or upon which the seal is broken within the passenger compartment of a vehicle upon a highway, or within the passenger compartment of a moving vehicle in any place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, in this state. (2) A person may transport or possess alcoholic liquor in a container that is open or uncapped or upon which the seal is broken within the passenger compartment of a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles in this state, if the vehicle does not have a trunk or compartment separate from the passenger compartment, the container is enclosed or encased, and the container is not readily accessible to the occupants of the vehicle. (3) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor. (4) This section does not apply to a passenger in a chartered vehicle authorized to operate by the state transportation department.

257.624b Transport or possession of alcoholic liquor by person less than 21 years of age, states: (1) A person less than 21 years of age shall not knowingly transport or possess alcoholic liquor in a motor vehicle as an operator or occupant… (exception is employment). This section does not prevent a person less than 21 years of age from knowingly transporting alcoholic liquor in a motor vehicle if a person at least 21 years of age is present inside the motor vehicle. A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor.

257.625 Operating motor vehicle while intoxicated … operation of motor vehicle by person less than 21 years of age states: (6) A person who is less than 21 years of age, whether licensed or not, shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, within this state if the person has any bodily alcohol content. As used in this subsection, “any bodily alcohol content” means either of the following: (a) An alcohol content of 0.02 grams or more but less than 0.08 grams per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath, or per 67 milliliters of urine.

436.17031A-Alcohol — Purchase/Consumption/Possession by a Minor states:  (the minor) did, being a person less than 21 years of age, (1) did one or more: (a) possess or attempt to possess alcoholic liquor (b) consume or attempt to consume alcoholic liquor (c) purchase or attempt to purchase alcoholic liquor (d) have a bodily alcohol content of 0.02 grams or more per  (a) 100 milliliters of blood (b) 210 liters of breath (c) 67 milliliters of urine or (e) have the presence of alcohol within his or her body resulting from the consumption of alcoholic liquor. This is a misdemeanor, $100, community service; substance abuse services.

Parent Tip: Have you talked to your kids about drugs? Are you sure? Stay connected. Ready or not, soon it will be back to school time! As you prepare your kids for the transition, please be sure to add a conversation about drugs and alcohol to your school list. You needn’t fear that by introducing the topic of drugs, you’re “putting ideas” into your children’s heads any more than talking about traffic safety might make them want to jump in front of a car. You’re letting them know about potential dangers in their environment so that when they’re confronted with them, they’ll know what to do. Research consistently shows that kids who learn a lot about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use. Two-thirds of fourth-graders polled said that they wished their parents would talk more with them about drugs. Role play with your children! Help them rehearse key phrases to resist peer pressure: “My parents would kill me if they found out, and they always find out!” “My parents trust me not to do that and I don’t want to break that trust.” “Doing that would make me feel out of control, and I hate that.” “No, I’m not into that stuff.”

Helpful resources: books — “How To Raise a Drug-Free Kid: The Straight Dope for Parents”; by Joseph A Califano, Jr.; “Just Say Know: Talking with Kids about Drugs and Alcohol”; by Cynthia Kuhn, Scott Swartwelder and Wilkie Wilson. Internet — www.getsmartabouydrugs.com, timetotalk.org.

The Smart Summer Campaign is the innovation of Kalamazoo County Substance Abuse Task Force. Participating C.A.S.S. Coalition members and partners include Classic Hits 101FM, Cass County Prosecutor’s Office, Woodlands, Cassopolis Family Clinic Network, Cass County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police.

E-mail questions to trooperrob53@yahoo.com.

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