Minor in Possession (MIP) - Change in the Law

three people MIP

Effective January 1, 2018, the Minor in Possession (MIP) law changed.  A minor is considered anyone under 21.  An underage individual violates this law by having any bodily alcohol content above .02.  The revised law does not eliminate all consequences such as those imposed by the Secretary of State and/or the University of Michigan ("U-M").

Further, the revised law does not legalize alcohol consumption by underage individuals.  Instead, it mandates that a first MIP violation is a civil infraction rather than a misdemeanor.  Civil infractions are minor violations of the law that are punishable only by a fine - another such example is a traffic ticket. A subsequent MIP violation remains a misdemeanor.

Other key facts to note are:

  • There is no court appearance necessary.  The MIP fine is $250 (first offense only) in 15th District Court (Ann Arbor).  To confirm when payment is due, visit the 15th District Court’s "case search" feature.  Payments can be made online.
  • If you want to contest an MIP citation, please call Student Legal Services immediately at (734) 763-9920. This is because the court only provides 10-15 days with which to respond.  If you do not timely respond, you may be found in default.
  • Since the first offense MIP is a civil infraction, it is a public record and can be found if someone searches the district court’s “case search” database.   It will not appear when an employer or other entity is conducting a criminal background check.
  • Once the court generates the entry of a judgment in its record, that judgment will be reported to the Michigan Secretary of State and it will appear on your driving record. 
  • Each state may share its Secretary of State’s database.  This means that if an underage individual has an alcohol infraction in another state and is then issued one in Michigan, the Michigan infraction may be considered a second violation.  In turn, the second violation would be escalated to a misdemeanor.
  • The revised MIP law does not impact the Medical Amnesty Law.  Medical Amnesty is available to underage individuals for exemption from prosecution if they voluntarily present themselves or initiate contact with law enforcement or medical services for the purpose of obtaining medical assistance for an alcohol or prescription drug overdose. 
  • U-M students found responsible for an MIP may still face additional consequences, e.g., being required to participate in educational and restorative measures. 
  • If a U-M student faces additional consequences, it will be pursuant to the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities through the Office of Student Conflict Resolution (OSCR) and/or the Community Living at Michigan standards for University Housing Residents.
  • The university offers resources to educate students about the consequences of illegal and/or excessive alcohol, as well as, to assist them with making informed choices.  Some useful information/resources offered by the university are detailed under U-M Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention.

If you have any questions on the revised MIP law, please call Student Legal Services to schedule an appointment at (734) 763-9920.