High school and college students and other young people under twenty-one years of age often perceive underage drinking as no big deal. To them peer approval may make it seem acceptable to indulge at weekend or evening social gatherings. But, a seemingly innocent evening can suddenly turn into a nightmare for minors arrested after drinking or in possession of alcohol especially if they are driving.
Minor in Possession (MIP)In Michigan the legal drinking age is 21 years. With limited exceptions, it is a misdemeanor criminal offense for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase, possess, or consume any alcoholic beverage. Persons under the age of 21 and their parents should not underestimate the seriousness of a M.I.P. conviction. A first offense is not punishable by jail, but instead by probation, fines costs, community service, and substance abuse education or treatment, a second or subsequent conviction may result in incarceration as well as the restriction or suspension of driver license privileges even though the person was not driving. Moreover, when a person is arrested and convicted on M.I.P. it may result in a permanent criminal record with lasting employment and school opportunity repercussions.
Zero Tolerance (Under Age 21)In addition to the crime of minor in possession (M.I.P.), Michigan has a “Zero Tolerance” offense prohibiting minors from driving a vehicle (1) with a bodily alcohol content of more than .02 and less than .08 percent or (2) with any alcohol content not resulting from alcohol consumption as part of a generally recognized religious service or ceremony. A first offense is a non-jailable misdemeanor punishable by up to two years probation, up to 360 hours of community service, a fine of not more than $250, and a 30 day driver license suspension. A second offense is punishable more harshly by up to a 93 day in jail sentence, a maximum 60 days of community service, a $500 fine, and a 90 day license suspension. Note: the fact that a driver in under the age of 21 is not a defense in a prosecution for operating while visibly impaired or drunk driving if those crimes are committed.
A Zero Tolerance offense should not be taken lightly. A single conviction for Zero Tolerance can be used to enhance future arrests for drunk or impaired driving to a second or third offense. A zero tolerance conviction (like any other drunk driving offense) will also remain permanently on the individual’s traffic record.
Contact Us TodayContact Daniel J. Larin, P.C. today for an experienced defense lawyer to vigorously protect you or your child when charged with Minor in Possession or Zero Tolerance.
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