Minor in Possession + Underage Drinking Defense Lawyer in Michigan
Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney Serving College Students Facing Minor in Possession Charges at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti
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 underage drinking defense attorney to fight these charges.
What is Underage Drinking Under Michigan Law?
Under MCL 436.1703, minors are prohibited from underage drinking, which can be charged as a Minor in Possession (MIP) offense. The statute prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from doing any of the following:
- Purchasing alcohol;
- Consuming alcohol;
- Possessing alcohol; and/or
- Having any bodily alcohol content.
Any minor who purchase or attempts to purchase alcohol, who consumes or attempts to consume alcohol, who possesses or attempts to possess alcohol, or is found to have any alcohol content in his or her body can be found guilty of a minor in possession.
What Does it Mean to ‘Possess’ Alcohol in Michigan?
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 Michigan MIP Defense Lawyer
If you are a student and you have been charged with underage drinking, it is extremely important to have an defense attorney on your side. An advocate at the Michigan Defense Law can assist you and your case today.
Underage Drinking at Eastern Michigan University
Students at Eastern Michigan University often enjoy parties on the weekends through Greek Life, at bars and restaurants around Ypsilanti, and at the apartments of other students on campus. However, it is important to know that any use of alcohol by a student under the age of 21 is a criminal offense that can result in misdemeanor charges if you are found guilty of this offense more than once.
How Ypsilanti Police Prove that Eastern Michigan University Students are in Violation of the MIP Law
It is important for underage students at Eastern Michigan University to understand the ways in which the police can prove that there was a violation of the minor in possession law. Generally speaking, there are three different ways that law enforcement officials may be able to prove a violation of MCL 436.1703:
- Minor is in actual or constructive possession of alcohol: This means that the police either find you carrying alcohol on your person (actual possession), or find you in a place where there is alcohol, such as at a house party on the Eastern Michigan University campus (constructive possession).
- Breath test results: If the police administer a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) which shows a minor to have a blood alcohol content of 0.02% or higher, the minor can be charged with an MIP law violation.
- Admission of alcohol consumption: If an underage student is stopped by the police, the police might try to encourage the student to admit that she or he consumed alcohol. This admission of alcohol consumption can be used against the student and as evidence that the student violated Michigan’s MIP law.
Contact a Michigan Minor in Possession Experienced Lawyer Today
Being charged with a Minor in Possession is serious for any student in college. A conviction can remain on your criminal record for the rest of your life, and it can affect your ability to obtain certain jobs or particular professional licenses. You can fight these charges with the help of a dedicated Michigan underage drinking defense attorney.