The Michigan Minor in Possession (MIP) law prohibits persons under 21 years from purchasing, attempting to purchase, consuming, attempting to consume, possessing, or attempting to possess an alcoholic beverage. It also prohibits a minor from having any bodily alcohol content.
The only exceptions to this law are:
1) minors enrolled in a course at an accredited post secondary educational institution in an academic building of the institution under the supervision of a faculty member solely for educational purposes and a requirement of the course;
2) minors consuming wine in connection with religious services at a church, synagogue, or temple;
3) minors working under the supervision of law enforcement
Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP) is a misdemeanor offense. A first conviction does not carry any incarceration. However, if a minor is placed on probation for a first offense and violates his or her probation, the Court can subject the minor to incarceration through its contempt powers. A second or subsequent conviction for MIP allows for incarceration, and a mandatory driver's license suspension. The terms of probation that the Court can impose includes (but is not limited to): fines and costs, reporting to probation, alcohol/substance testing, alcohol/substance treatment, counseling, community service, and educational program(s).
A first time offender can seek to have the offense expunged through a first offender program. A non public record is maintained by the Court and the Michigan Secretary of State to ensure that this form of diversion is not given a second time, and for some limited employment related reasons.
Minor in Possession - Driving A Car, Zero Tolerance prohibits a person under the age of 21 years from operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .02 to .08. This offense is a misdemeanor offense that carries similar penalties to a operating while impaired charge. The Court can impose up to 93 days in jail, probation with probationary conditions, and fines and costs. The Michigan Secretary of State will assess 4 points, and will suspend the minor's driving privileges for 6 months. This offense is not subject to expungement.
Minor in Possession - Transport or Possess Alcohol in a Car is a 93 day misdemeanor that prevents a minor from transporting or possessing alcohol in a car. The exceptions to this law include being with an adult over the age of 21 years, and transporting alcohol for purposes of employment.
It is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately for the following reasons:
1) having a criminal conviction can have repercussions on a minor's eligibility for grants, scholarships, employment, and insurance rates. The offense in most cases is not subject to expungement;
2) to explore possible defenses, such as Constitutional Rights violations or affirmative defenses that may lead to the dismissal of the charge(s);
3) how a lawyer handles the case can have an impact upon the terms of the sentence received, including any diversionary programs;
4) the offense may have an impact on the minor's ability to drive.
5) hiring a lawyer can reduce the stress, worry, and emotional impact of the legal system.
Sometimes in life there is only one opportunity to achieve the right result.
Hiring the right criminal defense lawyer may be one of the most important decisions you make for yourself and your family. There are many lawyers who claim to do more than what they are able - just as there are many surgeons in the world that are no better than butchers. Do not settle for a legal hack job. Practicing law is a skill that develops over time with experience, commitment, dedication, and God given talent. There are no amateur attorneys at Hilf & Hilf, PLC – only professionals that are guided by the humanity in the individuals we serve, and the drive not to settle for what is easy over what is right.