Minor in Possession

Minor in Possession

Otherwise known as an MIP, this is a criminal misdemeanor charge that you should take seriously whether you were issued a ticket or your child was issued a ticket. There are two ways to prove an MIP: possession by consumption of an alcoholic beverage or actual possession of an alcoholic beverage. The first method requires proof that your bodily alcohol content exceeds .02 grams/210 liters of breath. The second method requires proof that you physically or constructive possessed alcohol (such as a beer sitting in front of you within your reach). Proving an MIP is not as easy as it may seem at first glance.

Law enforcement will often administer a preliminary breath test (PBT) to minors suspected of consuming alcohol. However, in the 2009 case People v Chowdhury, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that the administration of a PBT is a search for the purposes of the Fourth Amendment and may not be administered without a warrant or an exception to the warrant requirement. If a PBT was administered to you or your child during an MIP investigation, the results of the PBT may be subject to exclusion depending on the facts of your case. Without PBT results, the prosecution must produce additional evidence to establish actual or constructive possession of an alcoholic beverage.

MIP is a nonjailable offense. Instead, an MIP conviction may result in fines, substance abuse assessments, community service, and probation. The MIP statute establishes a diversion track program that allows a person to keep the crime off his public record. The diversion program still leaves behind a footprint that you were charged and convicted. It is designed so that only a limited number of people can see this footprint. However, you never know if the conviction will slip out into the public domain or who will have the right to see it in the future – even if it is confidential to that person today. Due to the rising number of MIP convictions in Michigan, opportunities for acceptance into the diversion program are decreasing.

If you need a Michigan law firm that is committed to results and will unturn each and every stone in you or your child’s MIP case, contact the Nichols Law Firm in East Lansing at 517.432.9000

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Peer Recognition

Mike Nichols is a national leader in drunk driving defense. He is a member of the Forensic Committee and Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. He is also a Sustaining Member of the College. Nichols is also a founding member of the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys; a member of the American Chemical Society; an associate member of he American Academy of Forensic Science, Adjunct Professor of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Law and OWI Law and Practice at Cooley Law School. He is also author of the West OWI Practice book and several chapters in other books on science and the law.

Mike Nichols is recognized by his peers in Michigan as a “SuperLawyer” in DUI/Criminal Defense. Nichols has also been asked to speak at conferences by groups such as the NCDD; Various Bar Associations in other states.