Governor Jennifer Granholm signed into law on April 12, 2004, giving Michigan one of the strongest minor in possession (MIP) laws in the country. This is the first major revision of Michigan's MIP law since 1998.
Important changes in the law include the following:
1) The definition of being "in possession of alcohol" now explicitly includes blood alcohol content (BAC).
--Under the previous MIP law, a person could not be prosecuted for still having alcohol in his or her body or something that was consumed in the past or that a person no longer had control over, e.g., during digestion. Michigan's new MIP law prohibits "any bodily alcohol content".
2) Gives judges discretion to use jail time when a youth has a prior MIP conviction AND fails to complete any treatment, screening, or community service activities ordered by the court, or fails to pay any fine.
3) Gives a first-time offender the break of not having a misdemeanor record if he/she completes probation requirements.
-- This law provides for a discharge and dismissal for a first offense. When an individual who has not previously been convicted of, or received a juvenile adjudication for a violation of the MIP laws, the court could defer further proceedings and place the individual on probation.
4) Sets up a system with the Secretary of State for tracking first time offenders of the Michigan MIP law and comparable local ordinances.
-- Beginning September 1, 2004, the clerk of the court shall forward an abstract of the court record to the secretary of state if a person has pled guilty to, or offered a plea of admission in a juvenile proceeding for a violation of the new law or a local ordinance substantially corresponding to section 703 of Michigan's MIP law. The secretary of state will retain a nonpublic record of an arrest, plea, and discharge or dismissal. This record can only be furnished to the following:
A. To a court, prosecutor, or police agency upon request for the purpose of determining if an individual had already used the diversion provision.
B. To the Department of Corrections, a prosecutor, or a law enforcement agency upon request subject to the following conditions: 1) at the time of the request, the individual was employed by one of these entities or was an applicant for employment; and 2) the record was used by the entity only to determine whether an employee had violated his or her conditions of employment or whether an applicant met criteria for employment.
5) Permits 19 and 20 year olds who consumed alcohol legally in Canada the option to use this as an affirmative defense.
-- The law now includes a provision for minors who legally consume alcohol in Canada to offer this as "an affirmative defense" in a criminal prosecution. This means that the police may arrest any youth with a BAC of .02 or above. If the youth can prove he/she consumed the alcohol in a venue or location where that consumption is legal, the charge will be dismissed.
The changes in the law went into effect September 1, 2004.