The penalty for first time M.I.P. reduced to 'infraction' status

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By Marie E. Matyjaszek

All those under age 21 just received a late Christmas gift. Beginning January 1, 2018, a first time minor in possession (M.I.P.) of alcohol violation will only be a state civil infraction instead of a misdemeanor. (See Public Acts of 2016, Act No. 357). 

Along with the civil infraction, the minor “shall be fined not more than $100” and may also have to participate in substance abuse services, community service, and/or be subjected to substance abuse tests and assessments, at his cost. 

If you’re willing to test fate more than once, a second violation is considered a misdemeanor. On top of that, if you violated any previous conditions, it could land you up to 30 days in jail, and a $200 maximum fine. The substance abuse treatment, testing, and community service requirements are still in play as well. After two or more convictions, you will have your driver’s license suspended.

Finally, if you believe you are truly impervious to harm, and continue to love your long island ice teas after two M.I.P.s, you are again guilty of a misdemeanor, face a maximum of 60 days in the pokey and/or a $500 maximum fine.

At this point, if you haven’t already enrolled in a treatment program, the court may do this for you. 

Prior to this new law, courts across the state varied in how they treated those charged with M.I.P.s. Some were more lenient and required very little for the offender to have the charge dismissed, while others used all possible punishments available for a first time offense. Proactive and preventative measures may or may not have been used, and the great variety in sentencing left many offenders not knowing their fate.

With the commencement of this law, it certainly levels the beer bong playing field.

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The author is an Attorney Referee at the Washtenaw County Friend of the Court; however, the views expressed in this column are her own.  Her blog site is: http://legalbling.blogspot.com. She can be reached by e-mailing her at matyjasz@hotmail.com.

 

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