Underage drinking has proven to be a concern in young America for decades. Not only does it lead to dangerous situations, but alcohol also affects two vital parts of the brain that are still developing throughout the teenage years. These effects can result in irreversible brain changes that impact decision making, personality, memory and learning abilities.
Not only does underage drinking present dangerous health risks for minors, it can also land them in a sticky legal situation if caught and charged with a minor in possession. However, the legalities behind an MIP charge in Michigan have recently changed - and legislatures have certainly provided minors with a second chance on the matter.
In the State of Michigan, effective January 1st, 2018, a first Minor in Possession offense will be a civil infraction instead of a misdemeanor. The purpose of this new law is to protect minors from criminal charges for what many consider to be a "minor offense".
Under the new law, a first time minor in possession offense will be treated more like a traffic ticket than a criminal offense. A minor will have to pay a $100 fine, with no mandatory court appearances and could be sentenced to community service or a substance abuse class. The civil infraction will appear on a driving record. A second MIP offense under the new law will still be charged as a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $200 fine.
Under the old law, an adolescent charged with minor in possession was subject to a $100 fine, up to 90 days in jail, potential community service hours and drug and alcohol abuse counseling as well as the offense showing on a criminal record.
The new law provides many advantages to minors including the ability to maintain a clean criminal record, keeping future employment opportunities available. However, despite the reduction of the charge, a minor in possession offense can still be seen on a public record where many other states still consider an MIP a criminal offense.
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One of the most important steps to avoiding legal trouble is education on the law. Please visit our website to learn more about the applicable laws and how the team at Fausone Bohn can help. If you are facing criminal charges, Mark Mandell is an experienced Metro Detroit defense attorney and a former prosecutor. Call Mark Mandell today at (248) 468-4536.