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Will your college son avoid getting a MIP at MSU?

If your 18-year-old son is among the incoming freshmen at Michigan State University, he will soon become involved in campus activities such as football games and the inevitable weekend parties.

Does he know what the most common legal difficulty is for MSU students? They refer to it as “getting mipped,” and it is a charge your son will want to avoid.

The definition of MIP

What the students call "getting mipped" is actually a charge of minor-in-possession, or MIP, which is a misdemeanor in the state of Michigan. Your son could be involved in some sort of altercation at a party where guests are drinking liquor, or caught walking down the street carrying an open can of beer, and a law enforcement officer can charge him with MIP.

Penalties include an initial fine of $500 and the possibility of jail time. If this is a first offense but your son does not plead guilty, he can enter a diversion program and there will be no mark on his record. However, in addition to the fine, there are other fees connected with the drug and alcohol testing portions of the program.

A brief history

Getting mipped is nothing new to the student body at MSU. In 2014, there were 535 MIP arrests, in 2015 there were 431 and in 2016, 408, reports the university's student newspaper. Many of these charges occur on weekends, but the totals indicate an average of one a day, sometimes more.

Changing the law

In 2016, the Michigan House of Representatives voted to change the MIP offense. Effective in January 2018, the misdemeanor will become a civil infraction. No jail time will be mandatory, and the maximum fine will be $100. Until then, getting mipped will still be an expensive issue for a Michigan State University attendee, to say nothing of the impact a misdemeanor offense can make on the student’s permanent record. A misdemeanor sounds like a small thing, but it can adversely affect a student's college career and plans for the future, sufficient reason for your son to avoid underage possession of alcohol and the possibility of an MIP charge.

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