Whether you are away at college, headed to spring break, or even in your own home, if you're under 21 years-old in Michigan, you're not allowed to “possess” alcohol. Learn common defenses to beat an MIP charge.
The Preliminary Breath Test (PBT)
The Preliminary Breath Test, or PBT, is a portable breath test machine that police officers scare minors into taking to prove they've been drinking. However, unless you're driving a vehicle, you DO NOT have to take the PBT. Additionally, there is no sanction for refusing to take the PBT.
Free and Voluntary Consent to the PBT
Even if you consented to the PBT test, you may still have a valid defense. The burden is on the prosecutor to show your consent to the PBT test was freely and voluntarily given. In most cases, the cops force, scare, or coerce minors into giving consent. Therefore, consent was not freely or voluntarily given.
Additionally, even if the court finds that you freely and voluntarily gave your consent, the prosecutor must prove that the PBT was correctly administered. Because many officers do not understand how the test works, it is often administered incorrectly, and an experienced attorney can show that the test results are unreliable and inaccurate, and therefore should not be allowed in as evidence.
"Possession of Alcohol" Requirement
Under Michigan statute and local ordinances, the Minor in Possession charge requires that the prosecutor prove the minor actually possessed the alcohol, or had a right to exercise control over the alcohol. The mere fact that a minor may be in proximity to alcohol is not enough to prove a crime was committed.
Legally Consuming Alcohol
Under Michigan law, a 19 or 20 year-old may raise the affirmative defense that the alcohol they are in "possession" of was consumed in Canada, where they are allowed to legally drink. Additionally, drinking alcohol during a religious ceremony may be a valid defense.
There are also common Constitutional defenses that may be applicable to your case.
Additional resources provided by the author
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, you want an attorney in your corner.
Call Loebl Law today to talk to an experienced attorney.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on
their profile in addition to the information we collect from state
bar associations and other organizations that license legal
professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo
with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do
What determines Avvo Rating?Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, education
Legal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awards
Legal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagements
This lawyer was disciplined by a state licensing authority in .
Disciplinary information may not be comprehensive, or updated. We recommend that you always check a lawyer's disciplinary status with their respective state bar association before hiring them.