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10 Laws You Should Know If You're in Michigan

By Brett Snider, Esq. on November 08, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Michigan was the birthplace of many of America's industrial and manufacturing dreams, and it grew up with its own set of laws.

Whether you're in Detroit living out your "8 Mile" fantasy or visiting one of the Wolverine State's many dairy farms, you need to know what's permitted by state law.

So even if you're a member of the Michigan militia, pay attention to these 10 laws you should know:

  1. OWI threshold. Drunken driving in Michigan is called an OWI (operating while intoxicated) offense, not a DUI. The legal limit for intoxication is a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent; enhanced penalties are possible for a BAC of 0.17 percent or above.
  2. Using your cell phone while driving. Michigan outlawed texting while driving back in 2010, and you can get a $100 fine for your first offense.
  3. Getting a divorce. Divorcing your spouse in Michigan isn't much different from divorcing him or her in other states, just make sure you reside in Michigan for at least six months.
  4. Marital property division. If you do get divorced in Michigan and you don't have a prenup or other agreement in place, you won't automatically be splitting things 50/50. Michigan is an equitable division state, meaning that without some sort of valid agreement, you and your spouse will receive what a court determines is "fair."
  5. Injuries: Who's at fault? The Great Lakes State has adopted a pure form of comparative fault, meaning that each party is responsible only for the proportion of damages equivalent to the party's percentage of fault.
  6. Gambling. Michigan not only allows gambling at Native American casinos, but small bets on league bowling and poker at nursing homes are also allowed.
  7. Marijuana laws. The Mitten State does not allow any form of recreation marijuana, but patients with eligible conditions may be able to legally use medical pot (under state law).
  8. Gun laws. Despite what you may have seen in a Michael Moore documentary, Michigan does have regulations on gun possession and ownership -- like not bringing them near schools.
  9. Age restrictions. The legal age of majority is 18 in Michigan, but you can potentially sue by the age of 14.
  10. Statutes of limitations. For landlords, if your tenants decide to skip out on paying rent for the last month, you'll have six years to file suit -- although sooner is always better. But note that the time limits for filing other types of lawsuits are different.

If you want to learn how to stay on the level and out of trouble in Michigan, visit FindLaw's section on Michigan's laws.

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