We all know that the legal drinking age in Michigan is 21 years old. We also know that many teenagers and 20-year-olds occasionally experiment with alcohol in high school and college.
Being a minor in possession of alcohol is a misdemeanor in Michigan. Teens may not think about this when they go to a party where alcohol is served, but they are risking a criminal conviction that may appear on their permanent record. Future potential employers may find it while conducting a background check. Mortgages and car loans may be harder to obtain, and even getting a visa to go to certain countries might not be possible.
Besides these long-term consequences are the potential penalties for a conviction. The court may fine the minor up to $100 and force him or her to undergo substance abuse treatment, submit to regular screenings and perform community service.
For a second offense, the court can send the minor to juvenile detention for up to 30 days, if he or she fails to comply with substance abuse screenings or other terms of his or her original sentence. A third or subsequent conviction for possession of alcohol similarly could lead to up to 60 days behind bars.
Most parents would agree that minors should not drink alcohol. They do not want their children binge drinking or driving drunk, behaviors that can have serious consequences for the drinker and the public at large. However, many parents would rather a youthful indiscretion not affect their son or daughter the rest of their lives. That is where the aid of a defense attorney may be helpful.