MIP Basics: What every Minor and Parent Should Know

MIP Basics: What every Minor and Parent Should Know

Posted on:
January 26, 2016
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Criminal Defense
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In Michigan, it is a juvenile criminal offense for a person under the age of 21 to drink alcohol. It is also a crime for minors to consume or a have trace amounts of alcohol in their systems.  Police have three mechanisms for enforcing Michigan’s Minor in Possession, or MIP, laws:

  • Demonstrate actual, or constructive, possession of alcohol. This is the classic, “the police find you with it” scenario. If an officer witnesses a minor with alcohol, then it may be difficult to argue the minor was not consuming the alcohol. However, constructive possession may be more difficult for an officer. This is because an arrest is based on the fact that a minor had knowledge of alcohol had the ability to take actual possession of the alcohol. There may be circumstances where alcohol is present but the minor is not aware of the alcohol or is unable to access the alcohol.
  • Obtain a positive Preliminary Breath Test (PBT). Police officers may use a handheld PBT test to determine if a minor has been drinking alcohol. Minors should think carefully about agreeing to a PBT test since they can often produce false positives. PBT can detect other types of alcohol from food, diabetes, and even the surrounding air; and
  • Obtain an admission from minor. A police officer may simply ask a minor if he or she had a drink recently. If a minor admits to drinking, this admission is enough evidence for a court to convict the minor of underage drinking.

Penalties for a First Offense MIP

While drinking with friends at a fun party or even just to be cool seems harmless, MIP offenses have serious consequences for minors and their families:

  • First MIP Offense. A first-time MIP offense is a misdemeanor crime, punishable with a fine of $100 and community service. There are no points taken from the minor’s driver’s license. It is also possible that the offense will not be on the minor’s record by simply complying with the terms of the conviction;
  • Second MIP Offense. A second, and repeated, MIP offense is punishable with probation, including 30 days in jail for probation violations, and a possible $200 fine. The court may suspend the minor’s license for 30 days and require the minor to drive on a restricted license for 60 days; and
  • Third, or Repeated MIP Offense. A third or repeated MIP offense is punishable with probation, including 60 days in jail for probation violation, and a fine of up to $300. The court may suspend the minor’s license and require the minor to drive under a restricted license for 305 days.

Contact a Top Flint Criminal Defense Attorney

Drinking alcohol with friends seems like fun; however, a MIP conviction has serious consequences for minors and their parents. If you have been accused of drinking while underage, then contact the juvenile criminal defense attorneys at Nickola Law. We understand the consequences of an MIP conviction and can advise you on the best way to address a MIP charge before a court. Please contact us today at 810-767-5420 to discuss your case.

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