MINOR IN POSSESSION
In the State of Michigan, an offense of Minor in Possession that is, persons under the age of 21 to not only possess but also to consume alcohol and to have any amount of alcohol in their body. The law prohibits the attempt to possess or consume alcohol by an underage person as well. There are three primary ways that police enforce this law.
- Actual or constructive possession of alcohol – the police find you with it.
- Use of a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) to determine a BAC over .02
- Seek admission from an underage drinker that they consumed alcohol.
The law is neutral, meaning that it doesn’t treat crimes differently simply because the accused is young or happens to be a student. The possible penalties remain the same, including mandatory consequences such as driver’s license suspension.
At the Law Offices of Ravi R. Gurumurthy, PLC, we understand that teenagers and young adults don’t have the same decision-making capacity as adults—it’s a simple, well-documented biological fact. This imperfect judgment can be aggravated by alcohol, drugs, and even environment.
We don’t want to see a youthful mistake haunt your student for years to come, and we know you don’t either. Our goal is always to provide our client with the best defense possible, and to negotiate for or fight for the outcome that allows the student to move forward with his or her life unobstructed.
The police almost universally believe that a young person in high school or college out at night has been or is about to drink alcohol. This often-unfair presumption makes young adults under the age of 21 a target and they are often faced with the charge of Minor in Possession.
Police will seek an admission of the use of alcohol
If a police officer asks a minor if they recently drank alcohol and the answer is “yes”, that admission alone can be enough evidence to convict that person for MIP. A person under the age of 21 should never admit to drinking alcohol to a police officer or any person of authority. Based upon the Michigan Rules of Evidence, the admission of a defendant to another that they drank alcohol is admissible in court. Therefore, if your friend says to the officer that they witnessed you or heard you say that you drank alcohol that can be enough subject to issues of credibility.
Using a preliminary breath test to determine a BAC in excess of .02 grams per 100 liters of breath
The handheld Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) is used by police frequently to discover teenage drinking or determine if a person under the age of 21 has been drinking alcohol. PBT’s are almost always carried by a police officer in their vehicle. A teenager must remember that they do not have to take a breath test or PBT and the only penalty is a civil infraction with a $100 fine. To protect against being convicted of MIP a person should NEVER SUBMIT TO A BREATH TEST under any circumstances. Even if a person has not been drinking, PBTs can and will make mistakes.
Penalties for a first offense MIP
A Minor in Possession first offense is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $100.00 and community service, with no consequences against your driver’s license.
If fighting a first offense MIP is not an option an offender has two choices:
- Plead guilty with a deferred sentence – if you can successfully complete a term of probation not to exceed 24 months the conviction will not be entered onto your record. Probation terms will be no use of drugs and alcohol with random testing, substance abuse counseling, community service, monthly reporting of probation, $100 fine plus probation and court costs in addition to all of the costs incurred for testing and treatment. If you violate any term of probation, a jail term of 30 days can be imposed and loss of the ability to keep the conviction off your record. In either case, there will be no driver’s license sanctions.
- Plead guilty straight with no jail ever and a $100 fine plus community service (sometimes). The conviction will be on your record. No driver’s license sanctions.
The bottom line is, on a first offense MIP, take the opportunity to keep it off your record unless you think you may not comply with the terms of probation then take the misdemeanor and save yourself the hassle of probation and all of its conditions and the possibility of jail.
Penalties for second offense MIP
- Probation including its regular terms, up to 30 days in jail for any probation violation, up to $200 fine.
- Driver’s license will be suspended for 30 days followed by a restricted license for 60 days.
Penalties for third or subsequent offense MIP
- Probation including its regular terms, up to 60 days in jail for any probation violation, up to $300 fine.
- Driver’s license will be suspended for 60 days followed by a restricted license for 305 days.