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Passenger charged with underage drinking in unrelated traffic stop

Everyone in Michigan, and across the nation, knows that underage drinking is a problem. No one is denying that hundreds of underage kids die every year from alcohol related stunts or accidents. What has some people angry is situations in which police, who are supposed to be here to protect us, seem to take things a little too far.

This seems to be the case for two 20-year-old men when they were stopped by police later this month. According to officers, the two men were stopped after they noticed that the vehicle's muffler was too loud.

Officers who spoke to the 20-year-old driver claim to have detected the strong odor of alcohol inside the car during the traffic stop. Police then asked the driver to take a preliminary breath test, which showed he had not apparently been drinking.

Some would think that the officers would have stopped there but many were surprised that the officers then suspected the 20-year-old passenger of drinking under the age of 21. It is likely that police arrested the man under this assumption because officers later had his blood tested.

Though his blood alcohol level tested at more than the legal limit and he was an underage drinker, many feel that the arrest was excessive considering the circumstances and wonder if the police had any right to take the passenger in for blood testing in the first place.

At present, the officers have cited the passenger for the underage consumption of alcohol and gave him a notice to appear in court. He has since been released.

Situations like this can be especially difficult because young people may not be familiar with all laws and may feel that their rights are being taken advantage of. In situations such as this, people suspected of underage drinking may find it helpful to speak with a skilled defense attorney.

Source: The Patch, "Fenton Police Cite Underage Drinker," Anna Troppens, Sept. 25, 2012

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