As of 2018, a minor who gets caught with possession of alcohol (MIP or Minor in Possession) will no longer be charged with a misdemeanor for their first offense. A new law that was passed in 2016 made a first offense MIP a civil infraction.
Additionally, the maximum punishment for a first offense civil infraction Minor in Possession in Michigan is now a $100 fine and potentially community service and substance abuse classes. The prior misdemeanor charge was punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $100 fine, along with community service and substance abuse classes.
With the change of the law, a second offense MIP would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $200 fine. A third offense would result in a sentence of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. If a minor is convicted of a third MIP, there could also be revocation of the minor’s driver’s license.
If you are charged with a Minor in Possession or MIP, the penalties vary as described above. Generally, you will be given a ticket informing you of what you have been charged with and when to appear in court. You need to check your ticket carefully to determine what court you need to be at and when.
The first hearing is an arraignment. This hearing is where the court will read the charges against you and ask you how you want to plead, either guilty, not guilty, or to stand mute (not say anything). If you choose to stand mute, a not guilty plea will be entered on your behalf.
It is important to plead not guilty to your MIP charge. Our court system will not punish you for exercising your right to plead not guilty so that can discuss your case with the prosecuting attorney or retain an attorney to fight your case on your behalf. If you decide to plead not guilty, your case will be set for a Pre-Trial conference, at which your attorney can fight your case and potentially try to get you a reduced charge or to get the charge dismissed. Your attorney can then discuss the best possible outcomes with you and the implications that may come with the resolution of your case.
There are consequences that come with a MIP. There may be consequences towards your college degree. You have worked extremely hard to obtain that degree, but most if not all, employers conduct background checks, and if a MIP shows up on your background check you may be passed over for a coveted position in the workforce. Additionally, many professions, such as nursing, engineering, medicine, and health professions, require “character and fitness” checks/screens to be passed, an MIP could cause a barrier to pass those screenings.
If your or a loved one has been charged with a MIP contact us today to discuss your options.