Dismissal of MIP (Minor in Possession of Alcohol) MCLA 436.1703

The legal drinking age in Michigan has been 21 for decades. But it’s well known that many young people, especially those in college, drink before their 21st birthday. It’s a common offense, but nonetheless one with serious and potentially lasting consequences.

Avoid a MIP Conviction

At Grabel & Associates, our Michigan juvenile defense attorneys routinely get calls from students and concerned parents who often ask if they will go to jail and if there is any way to avoid having a conviction on their record. For someone in school with hopes of snagging an internship or job following graduation, having a criminal conviction – for even a relatively minor offense – can put them at a distinct disadvantage.

Now the good news: Pursuant to MCLA 436.1703, there is a diversion program that will allow a defendant to have the case dismissed, avoiding a conviction on defendant’s record.

MCLA 436.1703 – Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) report that while all drinking by those under 21 is illegal, people between the ages of 12 and 20 drink 11 percent of the alcohol consumed in the U.S.

Pursuant to MCLA 436.1703, it is obviously illegal for a minor under the age of 21 to purchase, possess, or consume alcohol. In the old days when a minor got caught using a fake ID at a bar or liquor store, the minor would get the ID taken and get thrown out of the establishment. These days, there is a lot of pressure on these businesses to take this very seriously, so the police are often called. In some cases, there is a plainclothes police officer working in the establishment who can make the arrest on the spot.

Minor in Possession – First Offense

An experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney can often help the minor to avoid conviction under the MIP statute and, in many cases, stay out of jail.

For a first offense, the maximum potential penalty is $100. This does not involve any jail time, but it is still possible for jail time if the defendant violates any release condition.

A first offense conviction for minor in possession of alcohol can also result in the defendant having to do community service and participate in rehabilitation for substance abuse or attend counseling. This is not saying that every minor who gets charged with MIP is an alcoholic, but the system is designed to teach these defendants about making more responsible choices to prevent substance abuse problems in the future.

Minor in Possession – Second Offense

For a second offense, there is a maximum fine of. There is also the possibility of up to 30 days in jail if a defendant violates the terms of probation or fails to follow all court orders. Defendant’s driver’s license can be suspended for up to three months, and he or she will have to pay $125 to have that driver’s license reinstated.

Minor in Possession – Third Offense

For a third offense, the defendant can be sentenced to up to 60 days in jail if he or she violates the terms of probation or violates a court order. The defendant can be ordered to perform community service, participate in rehabilitation or counseling and pay up to $500 in fines plus court costs.

Dismissal of Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP)

Pursuant to the MIP statute, successful completion of a diversion program can allow defendant to avoid a conviction and have their record sealed. For a first offense only, defendant’s criminal defense attorney can request the judge grant either pretrial diversion or a dismissal under a deferred sentence agreement. This requires defendant to plead guilty without the judge entering a judgment of guilt (conviction). Instead, defendant will be placed on probation, and which can encompass potential penalties or sanctions listed above for a first offender - including payment of court costs and fines. If the defendant completes the terms of probation successfully, the case will be dismissed rather than having a conviction placed on his or her permanent record.

There will be a non-public record, meaning when a police officer runs a defendant’s record, the officer can find out about the prior offense. However, employers will not be able to learn about it, so this will not hinder a defendant from getting that internship or good job in the future. While there are some exceptions to this public record sealing, they only apply in a few instances (i.e., if you are applying for a job with local law enforcement, department of corrections or prosecutors, among a few others). Defendants should discuss that with his or her experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney who handles minor in possession cases on a regular basis.

It is important to understand that the statute specifically states that a minor who has been charged with possession of alcohol and obtained the benefits of this favorable disposition will not get the benefit in the future if he or she is charged a second time for MIP. This is because the law recognizes that young people make mistakes, especially involving alcohol, so the legislature provided this disposition for first-time offenders. However, as with other diversion statutes, the state is not in the habit of giving third chances.

This doesn’t mean that if you are charged with a second offense MIP, you will automatically be convicted. An arrest is not the same as a conviction, and there are many tactics a criminal defense attorney can employ to prevent a conviction.

According to statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), alcohol is the most commonly abused drug in the United States, so the authorities are doing what they can to fight this. One of the main reasons this is such a concern is because excessive drinking often leads to drunk driving. This can result in a defendant being charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI) in Michigan. In many cases, an OWI can involve a serious or fatal accident, and that can result in harsher penalties.

Contact Michigan criminal defense lawyers at Grabellaw.com by contacting us online. Offices in Lansing, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids. We travel to you anywhere in the state.