Student Legal Services

The below information is just a brief explanation of the first offender program.  The information provided is for general informational purposes and is not a substitute for legal advice.  If you have questions after reading the information and/or if you have other charges in addition to the MIP, please call our office to schedule an appointment.

Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP) tickets are issued if you are under 21-years-old and carry and/or have any bodily alcohol content. The first offense does not result in a jail term, but is a misdemeanor. However, the 15th District Court has a first offender program which enables you to avoid a misdemeanor conviction.

If you have been cited with an MIP ticket, you can either accept the first offender program or contest the matter.  If you decide to accept the program, you can still make an appointment to discuss your case with our attorneys to make sure that the program is your best option, upon review of the facts of your case.

Below is a brief explanation:

What is the First Offender Program?

This program is specific to the 15th District Court in Ann Arbor.  It is a one-time only opportunity to prevent a criminal record for an MIP. A second MIP may result in jail time and a criminal conviction.

 

Who is Eligible?

  • Received an MIP citation
  • You do not have a previous criminal record
  • There are no pending charges pending from the same incident

If all of the above applies to you and you have received a misdemeanor ticket for MIP by the City of Ann Arbor or the State of Michigan (generally these tickets are issued by the UM Department of Public Safety) and you do not wish to challenge your ticket, you may go to your arraignment (the first court hearing) and accept the First Offender MIP Deferred Sentence Program that will be offered to you by the court. 

 

What to Expect at Court?

On your arraignment date, dress neatly, be prepared to go through security, and plan on leaving your cell phones at home since they are not permitted in the court.

Once there, inform the court officers that you are there for an arraignment for the first offender program. More than likely you will be in a room with others and will be directed on what to do/say.  Please know that you will be pleading "guilty" to the offense.

 

What if I am not offered the Program?

If for any reason you are not offered this program, do the following:

  • Appear before the magistrate and plead “not guilty."  The court will set a new date called a pre-trial.
  • Call SLS to schedule an appointment (ASAP) to meet with an attorney who will attend the pre-trial with you.

 

What are the Requirements of the Program?

The program requirements are as follows:

  • Pay court costs of $405.00 (cash, check or credit card) at the 15th District Court Services Office. Plan to do this on the day of the hearing, although the court will allow you 30-days to pay.
  • Attend BASICS - an alcohol assessment and education program awareness class offered through the University of Michigan Health Services.  This program is comprised of two, 90-minute sessions with a trained facilitator.  See http://uhs.umich.edu/basics for more information and/or to schedule sessions.  There is no cost for this service.
  • Six-months of non-reporting probation - the 15th District Court will set an administrative review date after this time.
  • If you have successfully fulfilled the program requirements, dismissal of your case will occur at the administrative review.  Then, no conviction of a misdemeanor will be entered on your record.  However, a record of the plea and later dismissal will be kept by the court and Secretary of State, as required by law.   That record will only be available to law enforcement and certain other governmental agencies.

Please note that if you fail to comply with the program's requirements, this will result in a conviction on your record, possible suspension of your driver's license, and a possible warrant for your arrest.