Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP): Penalties, Diversion, and PBT Requirements

MIP 1

Lansing Michigan MIP Defense Lawyer

Under MCL 436.1703 a minor (under 21) may not purchase, consume, or possess any alcoholic liquor. The can or bottle doesn’t even have to be open. If it’s in your car, backpack, or anyone else, you are in violation of the law. Possession can be actual or constructive. Actual possession is when you have direct physical control over it (e.g. holding it in your hand). Constructive possession is when you know where it is and have reasonable access to it (e.g. in the console of your car).

Penalties

First Offense:

  • Fines up to $100 and costs
  • Community Service
  • Participating in counseling and/or rehabilitation for substance abuse

Second Offense:

  • Up to 30 days in jail (only if defendant fails to complete probation or abide by any court order)
  • Suspended driver’s license for 90 days with $125 re-instatement fee
  • Participating in counseling and/or rehabilitation for substance abuse
  • Community Service
  • Fines up to $200 plus costs

Third Offense:

  • Up to 60 days in jail (only if defendant fails to complete probation or abide by any court order)
  • Community Service
  • Participating in counseling and/or rehabilitation for substance abuse
  • Fines up to $500 plus costs

Can I go to Jail on an MIP?

Yes, you can! While the MIP statute doesn’t have a potential jail sentence for first offenders, the judge can place you in jail if you violate any court orders or any of your probation terms or conditions. There are a number of judges and courts that will do that. While you can’t be sentenced to upfront jail on an MIP, the judge can impose jail if you violate the terms of your sentence.

Diversion Program

The good news is that if you are charged and convicted of an MIP, it doesn’t have to taint your record and follow you around for the rest of your life as you apply to colleges, scholarships, and jobs. If it is your first offense, the judge may grant you diversion or a deferred sentence. Upon successful completion of probation, your conviction would be dismissed and made non-public. However, even though the record is non-public it can still be accessed by police, judges, and prosecutors under certain conditions and by law enforcement agencies, department of corrections, and prosecutors for the purposes of employment only. Not every court and jurisdiction offers diversion programs for MIPs, but most do. That is why it is important to discuss the matter with an attorney who is familiar with the court you will be appearing in. Be mindful that this option can only be exercised once in a lifetime. If it is a subsequent MIP offense, you may be eligible for HYTA or a delayed sentence. However, many judges and prosecutors will be extremely reluctant to give you a second break.

Can an Officer Make me Submit to a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT)?

A police officer can ask a minor to submit to a preliminary breath test (pbt) if the officer reasonably believes that the minor has consumed alcohol. The results can be used as evidence to determine if the minor is in violation of the law. It is your right to refuse a PBT and you should always refuse a PBT. You have a right not to incriminate yourself—exercise it.

Is the MIP Statute Constitutional?

The city of Troy, MI had an almost identical MIP statute as the one under state law. Defendant challenged the PBT requirement that an officer can demand a minor take a PBT and be penalized for refusing as a violation of the Fourth Amendment which requires a warrant for such a search. A federal judge agreed in the case of People v Chowdhury. Although the Michigan legislature has not taken heed and failed to re-write that portion of the MIP statute, a similar constitutional challenge could be made on the state level, presumably.

Lansing Michigan MIP Defense Lawyer

Having an alcohol-related offense on your record can have a negative impact on your future. Your career goals don’t have to go up in smoke because of a bad decision. You may have defenses available that could get your case dismissed. If dismissal is not an option, as an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney we know how to persuade judges to grant you diversion so your record isn’t tarnished. If charged with MIP or any other alcohol-related offense, contact Austin Legal Services, PLC at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan MIP defense attorney today!

Defending minor in possession (MIP) and other alcohol offenses throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Jackson, Livingston, Barry, Washtenaw, Shiawassee, Kent in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ithaca, Jackson, Brighton, Howell, Hastings, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Corunna, Durand.

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