You’ve probably heard a story or two about someone who has an MIP, but what does that really mean?
You can get a Minor in Possession (MIP) misdemeanor in Michigan if you are younger than 21 and drinking, have alcohol with you, tried to buy alcohol or are drunk. The consequences can be any or all of the following: A fine, a community service order, participation in substance abuse prevention or a substance abuse screening order. People who don’t have prior convictions might be able to get probation and have the charges dismissed upon successful probation completion.
The consequences of getting caught with a fake ID can be up to 93 days in jail or a fine of up to $100.
The Torch interviewed three anonymous Ferris students who got MIPs to explain the process.
Q: When did you get an MIP?
Student 1: Nov. 2013
Student 2: Aug. 2014
Student 3: Aug. 2014
Q: What were you doing when you got it?
Student 1: We were walking outside and one of my friends had a cup in his hand. An undercover cop drove by so he threw the cup down and the cop stopped us for littering. I got one because I had a backpack on and I wouldn’t let him look inside it. Apparently, by looking at my eyes the cop could see I was drunk and could smell alcohol.
Student 2: My friend drove us to a house party and we had to walk because it was a few blocks away from the car. We all got out and we started walking down the sidewalk and two cops on bicycles jumped out of nowhere and were shining their light on us and made us sit down on the sidewalk. They said they stopped us because a guy we were with, who was 21, had a beer in his hand. They went around the circle and made us all do Breathalyzers.
Student 3: [Was with Student 2]
Q: What was your reaction when you got the MIP?
Student 1: I was pretty pissed. I was really nervous about how it would affect everything. But in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t too bad.
Student 2: I cried basically the entire time from when they stopped us to all night after. I cried a lot the next day too.
Student 3: I was definitely scared and disappointed in myself when it first happened. It was embarrassing to be given an MIP in front of students walking by to go to parties. I was also really worried about what might happen to my future job search with an MIP.
Q: Can you take me through the process of what happened after?
Student 1: didn’t want it on my record since I was trying to get into grad school, so I did the deferral program. I had to go to court three or four times. After my last day at court, I had to write in a monthly report to my probation officer for a year, do 32 hours of community service, a psych evaluation and take a class. If I were to do it again I would have just taken the MIP on my record.
Student 2: They give you the ticket and it has the court notice on it, so you go to that and that’s where you plead guilty or not guilty. You can plead guilty and pay the fine upfront and take it on your record for five years. I pleaded not guilty and did the community service and stuff because they take it off your record as soon as you finish the probation. I got off after seven months because I went in to ask if I could leave the state to go to Chicago, and they said yes, but to come in and do a drug test as soon as I got back. After I came back, I did the drug test and passed and they just let me off probation.
Student 3: I went to court twice. The first time was to plead guilty or not guilty. The second court date was for the sentencing. I took it on my record because I wanted the process to be over. I was tired of hearing about court dates and being upset about it all the time. I figured having one on my record might hinder me getting a job but it isn’t the worst thing in the world to have on your record. The career path I chose isn’t as strict as being a doctor or lawyer, so I made the choice of taking it. It hasn’t impacted my life in any way, but I also haven’t graduated and started job hunting yet.
Q: How much did everything cost?
Student 1: About $1,000 after everything.
Student 2: About $1,000.
Student 3: I think around $500 or $600.
Q: How did your parents react?
Student 1: They were pissed. They were really disappointed. They were pretty stressed out about it and didn’t trust me for a while, so it was kind of tough.
Student 2: They weren’t mad at me, they just felt bad because I was freaking out. They helped me decide to do the probation because they didn’t want it on my record either or it to interfere with getting a job later.
Student 3: My parents were disappointed in me but they were just happy I wasn’t caught doing more serious offenses like selling drugs or murdering someone. They also knew I’m still young and prone to making mistakes so they told me to learn from the experience and stay out of trouble from then on.
Q: Did you change your behavior after you got the MIP?
Student 1: I would either go to parties and not drink or I would stay in my apartment and drink. I just wouldn’t go out in public and drink. I guess it didn’t really stop me from drinking, just where.
Student 2: I never go out anymore. If I do go out, I’m always the DD or I’m sober. I’m not going out drunk at all until I’m 21 because if you get another one, it goes on your record and there’s nothing you can do about it. The first one isn’t so bad, but when they see you have two, that’s when employers might think that’s kind of messed up.
Student 3: I didn’t drink for a long time after I got it.
There are many more rules and much more information on the MIP process. Visit http://goo.gl/irMMbM to learn more.