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    CALL ATTORNEY JIM AMBERG AT (248) 681-6255 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

    WHAT IS AN MIP?

    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.  As I have seen in my travels 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 (and often misunderstood) part of an MIP charge is whether the charge is a Michigan Statute (MCL §436.1703) or a Local Ordinance.  Generally, most MIP charges I see are brought under 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.  Unfortunately, due to the inadequate representation, if any, most young people have in the 52-3 District Court and 48th District Court, important legal issues like this are never discussed, nor examined.

    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

    Contrary to the actions of certain Judges in the 52-3 and 48th District Courts, a first offense MIP conviction by statute does not allow for jail.  That means that regardless of how many times the Judge threatens you or your loved one with jail, the fact is that they cannot be sentenced to jail.  I, along with a few other brave MIP warriors, have repeatedly been successful in arguing that jail is not a permissible sentence in an MIP case.

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

    As I have repeatedly pointed out to many of the Judges of the 48th District, 52-3 District, and 52-1 District Courts, jail should not be the endgame of a young person’s legal journey if they violate their MIP probation.  Having an MIP on your permanent record in my opinion is punishment enough, as I have represented many MIP clients who have lost jobs or educational opportunities because of the MIP scarlet letter 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.  However, with the grossly inadequate defendant representation that the 52-3 and 48th District Courts provide, as well as the vast majority of uninformed attorneys, many youths go to jail when they legally never should.

    CALL ATTORNEY JIM AMBERG, MICHIGAN’S MIP WARRIOR, AT (248) 681-6255 FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

    TO SEE JIM’S DETAILED DRUNK DRIVING DEFENSE WEBSITE, PLEASE GO TO WWW.OAKLANDCOUNTYDUILAWYER.COM