As the new semester begins and football season approaches, MSU students are indulging in beer pong, tailgating and the East Lansing bar scene – whether underage or not. Yet, everyone knows this is a generally accepted part of being a college. In fact, in 2013 alone, 8.7 million underage individuals reported consuming alcohol. While underage drinking may be common, getting caught can lead to serious legal consequences and university sanctions for students.
What is a Minor in Possession (MIP)?
A Minor in Possession is, as the name implies, when an individual under the age of 21 is caught with alcohol – be it beer, wine, or liquor. This is considered a misdemeanor, which may be marked on your criminal history file or even your driver’s license. While it can seem strange, you don’t need to even be consuming alcohol to get an MIP. If you are caught holding a container of alcohol (opened or unopened) or with alcohol in your backpack, your fridge, or any other item you own, you can be charged with an MIP.
How do I prevent an MIP? What do I do if I am caught or charged?
The only way to eliminate the risk of getting an MIP is to not drink or possess alcohol while underage. However, if you find yourself charged with an MIP, it is important to know your rights. If you are approached by a police officer in a public place, you have the right to remain silent—talking to police is not a requirement for U.S. citizens, and you are not required to answer questions.
Further, while social media has become a way to share our lives with others, posting pictures of yourself and your friends consuming or possessing alcohol should be avoided.
If you are charged, be sure to plead “Not Guilty” at the arraignment, and talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Michigan has many tough laws regarding underage drinking and MIPs, but the attorneys at White Law PLLC can help you, should you find yourself in trouble. With your whole future in front of you, do not let one mistake follow you forever. Contact us today for a free 30-minute initial consultation.