It is a misdemeanor for any person to sell, give, or furnish a tobacco product to a minor. A minor is anyone under 18. There is no jail penalty but for each violation you can be fined up to $50.00. Retailers who sell tobacco products must conspicuously post in a place close to the point of sale a sign that says: “The purchase of tobacco products by a minor under 18 years of age and the provision of tobacco products to a minor are prohibited by law. A minor unlawfully purchasing or using tobacco products is subject to criminal penalties.” If the sign is more than six feet from the point of sale it must be 5 ½” x 8 ½” in 36-point boldfaced type. If the sign is less than six feet from the point of sale, then the sign must be 2” x 4” in 20-point boldfaced type. The Department of Community Health shall provide the signs and adequate copies.
An affirmative defense is a rare instance in criminal law. Normally the prosecutor has the sole burden of proof meaning that only the prosecutor has to prove his case. The defense is not required by law to prove or disprove anything and can literally sit at trial and not utter a single word. An affirmative defense is rare in that it requires the defendant to prove his defense, usually by a preponderance of the evidence. Affirmative defenses also require the defendant give notice to the prosecutor ahead of time that the defense plans on using a particular defense. This is also unusual as the defense normally does not have to disclose defenses or trial strategy, only give notice of witnesses they may call and evidence they may present.
If charged with providing tobacco to a minor as a retailer, it is an affirmative defense that at the time of the offense the defendant had in force and continues to have in force a written policy to prevent the sale of tobacco products to persons less than 18 years old and that the defendant enforced and continues to enforce such policy. The defense must provide notice of this affirmative defense to the prosecutor at least 14 days before trial.
Although not an affirmative defense, it is a defense to the charge if a minor was in possession of a tobacco product if required by and during the course of his employment.
Selling Tobacco to a Minor Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with selling, giving, or furnishing tobacco to a minor you could be facing a criminal conviction as well as secondary fines and possibly a loss or suspension of your license to sell tobacco products if you are a retailer which could have a severe negative impact on your business. If you have been charged with selling or giving tobacco to a minor call Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan criminal defense lawyer!
Defending charges of selling, giving, or furnishing tobacco to a minor and other charges throughout Michigan in the counties of: Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Jackson, Livingston, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Barry, Kent in the cities of: Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ithaca, Brighton, Howell, Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, Hastings.