Being Drunk on a Train Is Illegal in MI

This Fun Fact Has Not-So-Fun Consequences

You may be surprised to learn that it’s illegal to be drunk on a train in Michigan. This law was passed in 1913 yet it remains in effect today. The law specifically states: “No person shall while in an offensive state of intoxication enter or be on or remain upon any railway train or interurban car as a passenger.” Simply put, you can’t be drunk on a train.

What’s also interesting is that if you get caught, the train conductor has the power to take away your liquor, give it to the nearest station agent, and provide you with a receipt for your confiscated alcohol. From there, you can go to the station agent within 10 days of your incident and get your alcohol back.

If the train conductor deems it appropriate to take matters to court, you may end up facing a misdemeanor charge punishable by a $100 fine and/or up to 90 days in jail.

Many may argue that this century-old law is strange yet fascinating. Considering that an average 450,000 Michigan residents ride Amtrak trains each year, this law has the potential to affect hundreds of thousands of people. On weekends and holidays especially, you must be careful about violating the law. With Independence Day celebrations coming up next month, our lawyers urge you to be safe and responsible with your alcohol in general, but especially on trains.

As a general reminder, Amtrak’s rules about private stock alcohol are:

  • You may bring aboard your own private stock of alcoholic beverages subject to the following limitations:
    • You may consume private stock alcoholic beverages only in Sleeping Car accommodations for which you have a valid ticket
    • You may not consume private stock alcoholic beverages in any public area

Avoid a Train Wreck & Drink Responsibly

It’s important to note that while it is perfectly legal to drink in the train car in which alcohol is being legally sold, it is unclear whether you can bring your alcohol back to your seat. If that is considered a public area, then you could get in trouble. What is clear, though, is that you cannot be drunk, or in an “offensive state of intoxication” on a train in Michigan.

Riding the train should not result in a legal offense and jail time if it doesn’t have to. Thus, we encourage you to reach out to us at (517) 316-1195 to learn how we can help if you’ve been charged with this offense.