What do you do when you have been given a Minor in Possession of alcohol or “MIP?” You need to call The Criminal Defense Law Center of West Michigan asap when you are given a ticket for an MIP. While you need to take this charge serious, there is no need to panic when you call The Criminal Defense law Center of West Michigan after you have been charged with an MIP>
Minor in Possession, MIP, is a misdemeanor in the state of Michigan. The penalties very depending on if this is your first MIP, or if this is your second or third offense.
In Michigan, you will be given a ticket which will tell you what you have been charged with and when you need to appear at court. A district court will be assigned to handle your case. Please check your MIP ticket very carefully to see what district court will be handling your ticket. You should be sure to check your ticket very carefully to determine which lower court is handling your case. If you have any questions, be sure to contact the district court listed on your MIP ticket or better yet, contact The Criminal Defense Law Center of West Michigan at 616-438-6719.
If you are charged with an MIP, please be polite when you show up to court. Do not show up to court drunk, or under the influence of alcohol. Furthermore, do as you are told at court. If they tell you to turn your cell phone off or to take your hat off do so!
Arraignment is your first apperance in Michigan.
Most district courts in Michigan have the same process for handling misdemeanor charges, such as Minor in Possession of alcohol (MIP). An arraignment for a MIP is simply a hearing date where the court must explain the charges to the individual and find out how they plead to the charge. A defendant can plead guilty, not guilty or stand mute (remain silent). If a defendant stands mute, the court will automatically enter a not guilty plea on his or her behalf.
Plead NOT GUILTY Or Stand Mute!
This is without doubt the most important piece of information on this site. Many students misunderstand their right to plead not guilty or to stand mute (stay silent) at their first appearance. They wrongly think that because they did drink and were caught that they will get in more trouble with the judge and the court if they do not plead guilty. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Our justice system cannot, and I repeat, CANNOT punish you for exercising your right to plead not guilty so that you can discuss your case with a prosecuting attorney or hire an attorney to fight on your behalf.
Tnd the prosecuting attorney’s office. You need to know that law enforcement officers will suggest charges for the prosecutors to authorize. They will execute a ticket or even a formal police report and submit them to the prosecuting attorney for review. Therefore, the prosecuting attorney can decide to authorize charges that are NOT on your written ticket. All the more reason to have your case handled by an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The arraignment for your MIP is your first opportunity to appear before the judge that will most likely be handling your MIP. Dress for success! Guys this means a suit and tie and ladies your best dress. When talking to the judge who will be handling your MIP, always address the judge as “your honor.” Do not be late to court! Judes hate it when people come in late to court on their MIP charges.
Be Ready For Alcohol Testing
Some courts will alcohol or drug test at the first arraignment and you need to be prepared to answer that question for the judge. Many judges will ask you whether or not you will test clean and that it stays within your system for 30 days.
You should be prepared to answer that question honestly, as a dishonest response could land you in jail for a contempt of court charge.
Pleading Guilty To A MIP Equals Giving Up Your Rights!
In most courts the judges will simply take the not guilty plea and set a pretrial conference, usually giving the student a hearing date at the initial arraignment. There are some courts that will do an arraignment/pretrial and have the meeting with the prosecutor at that time in order to try to dispose of the case.
Too many college students and young people believe that if they did drink, if they did fail a breathalyzer, if they did admit to drinking, that they must plead guilty. False! It is everyone’s constitutional right to plead not guilty regardless of whether or not you are actually guilty. It is the burden of the prosecutor to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt whether it is a murder case or a MIP charge carrying no jail time. In other states the court process will be very similar, but you should check with an attorney in that state for the exact specifics of how the courts handle the initial appearance, arraignment and bond.
This is an opportunity for your lawyer to speak with the prosecuting attorney. Your attorney will prepare for the hearing and be the one who will speak with the prosecutor and try to negotiate a plea on your behalf.
If you cannot come to a resolution with the prosecutor in your MIP pretrial conference, you have the right to demand a jury trial or a non-jury trial. If you demand a jury trial it will typically be set for a final pretrial with the prosecuting attorney so that the courts can determine which cases are going to actually go on that day and which are going to be resolved the day before trial. T
The final pretrial is the last opportunity to resolve or to negotiate a plea in your MIP case. If you cannot resolve the case and you have chosen a jury trial, there will be a jury selection and you can have the actual jury trial the next day.
An actual jury trial could take place if no resolution can be reached in your MIP case. In Michigan, the right to a jury trial has been secured by defense attorneys taking cases all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court. Some jurisdictions will complete the jury selection first. After your MIP jury selection, the jury trial will begin and the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were a minor in possession of alcohol.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in West Michigan Proudly Serve: Kent County, Ottawa County, Allegan County, Ionia County, Barry County, Berrien County, Mason County, Manistee County, Mecosta County, Oceana County, Muskegon County, Montcalm County, Newaygo County, Kalamazoo County, Lake County, Van Buren County, and the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Our Grand Rapids Criminal Lawyers Also Proudly Serve The West Michigan Cities Of:Grand Rapids, Holland, Allendale, Wyoming, Kentwood, Grandville, Walker, Hudsonville, Grand Haven, Coopersville, Spring Lake, Ionia, Hastings, Stanton, White Cloud, Newaygo, Zeeland and Allegan.