Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney Serving College Students Facing Minor in Possession Charges at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor
The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is a prominent public university with an undergraduate enrollment of nearly 29,000 students. Every year, however, many underage students across the campus and throughout Ann Arbor are charged with underage drinking, which is known as Minor in Possession (MIP) under Michigan law (MCL 436.1703).
From students who are part of the University of Michigan’s fraternities and sororities to those who spend their time in far different extracurricular activities, almost any young student at the University of Michigan can face underage drinking charges. Every student facing these charges needs an experienced Ann Arbor underage drinking defense attorney to fight these charges.
What Does it Mean to Possess Alcohol in Ann Arbor?
The law recognizes both actual and constructive possession of alcohol, but it may be easier for a student to argue that constructive possession does not mean that she or he violated the statute. Here is the difference between actual and constructive possession:
- Actual possession: This is a situation in which the underage student actually possesses the alcohol. For example, a student may be carrying a bag with alcohol in it, or a student might get pulled over while driving a car with a keg of beer in the trunk.
- Constructive possession: This is a situation in which the underage student does not physically possess the alcohol but is in a place where the alcohol is present (and where the student chose to be).
Penalties for a Minor in Possession at the University of Michigan
Law enforcement officers frequently anticipate that students at the University of Michigan and at other colleges and universities throughout the state will violate Michigan’s Minor in Possession law. As such, Ann Arbor police may be ready to administer a breath test around local liquor stores and bars, and they may be looking for underage students who show signs of being intoxicated. If you are convicted of Michigan’s MIP law, you can face serious penalties.
A Minor in Possession is a misdemeanor offense. With a first offense, a student may have the opportunity to plead guilty with a deferred sentence upon completion of probation. However, the penalties become more severe for each subsequent offense after the first offense:
- Fist offense: state civil infraction with a fine of up to $100, substance abuse screening and assessment, and/or community service. When a student faces a first offense, she or he may be eligible for a deferred sentence. To be clear, a first offense does not result in a misdemeanor conviction.
- Second offense: misdemeanor conviction with a period of imprisonment of up to 30 days, a fine of up to $200, and court-ordered substance abuse screening and/or community service.
- Third offense: misdemeanor conviction with a period of imprisonment of up to 60 days, a fine of up to $500, and court-ordered substance abuse screening and/or community service.
Individuals who provide fake IDs to underage students for the purchase or consumption of alcohol can also be found guilty of a misdemeanor, which can carry a jail term of up to 93 days and a fine of up to $100.
Contact an Ann Arbor Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are a student and you have been charged with underage drinking, it is extremely important to have an Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney on your side. An advocate at the law office of Paul J. Tafelski can begin working on your case today. Contact us today for more information.