Minor in Possession of Alcohol

In Michigan, a Minor in Possession of Alcohol, better known as an “MIP,” is a criminal Misdemeanor charge in which a young person (under 21 years of age) is accused of being in “possession” of alcohol.  Convictions for MIP’s can result in extensive probation, heavy fines, loss of driving privileges, and jail.  In District Courts throughout Michigan, “possession” can be anything from being caught with a beer in your hand to having ingested alcohol in your body.  Unlike other states which treat MIPs as civil infractions, the Michigan Legislature has decided to pass one of the strictest MIP laws in the country. 

AN MIP CHARGE CAN ORIGINATE FROM STATE STATUTE OR LOCAL ORDINANCE

A very important part of an MIP charge is whether the charge is a Michigan Statute (MCL §436.1703) or a Local Ordinance.  Local Ordinances may differ greatly from the Michigan MIP Statute.  For instance, under MCL §436.1703, if a defendant has a prior MIP conviction and gets another MIP conviction, they face the possibility of jail if they violate their probation.  Meanwhile, if the same defendant was charged under the Auburn Hills Local MIP Ordinance Sec. 46-242, they could not get jail for a probation violation. 

In addition to possible community service and counseling, a conviction for an MIP may result in license sanctions. 

MIP SANCTIONS ARE DIFFERENT DEPENDING ON WHETHER THE ACCUSED HAS PRIOR MIP CONVICTIONS

Using the Michigan MIP Statute as guidance, the penalties for an MIP conviction are different if the defendant has prior MIP convictions.  For example, if a defendant has a prior conviction and is on probation for MIP, any violation could result in up to 30 days incarceration. 

A FIRST OFFENSE MIP CONVICTION DOES NOT CARRY JAILTIME

A first offense MIP conviction by statute does not allow for jail.  This means that regardless of the threats used by the various District Courts, you cannot go to jail.  This unfortunately is abused and many young people with inadequate representation routinely go to jail.

EVEN THOUGH JAIL IS NOT ALLOWED IN MOST MIP CASES, CERTAIN COURTS USE CONTEMPT PROCEEDINGS TO “GET AROUND” THE NO JAIL RULE

Having an MIP on your permanent record is a punishment in itself, as we have represented many MIP clients who have lost jobs or educational opportunities because of the MIP conviction on their record.  Yet, the Courts seem to think that having a permanent criminal record is not enough, and instead they use their “Contempt Powers” to place MIP probation violators in jail for non-jailable offenses.  The saddest part of this process is that these Courts have been repeatedly told by various Oakland County Circuit Court Judges that this practice is illegal. 

As Southeast Michigan’s premiere Minor in Possession attorneys, expect to have the entire Amberg & Amberg team fighting for you.  With innovative motions and defenses, the courage to stand up to tough prosecutors, and the belief in your innocence, we will fight with you to the end.  If you or a family member needs our help, call or email us today.