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)?
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.