Known to have the toughest laws for underage drinking, the state of Michigan has recently reclassified the Minor in Possession (MIP) law. While the former law imposed a $100 fine and up to 90 days in prison with convictions permanently staining the criminal records with misdemeanors, the new law will keep the fines flat, lower the offense to a civil infraction and enforce a mandatory community service or a substance abuse treatment.
Effective Jan. 1, 2018, minors found in possession of alcohol will get a little more leniency. Instead of a misdemeanor for first-time offenders, it will be a civil infraction, which will appear on a person’s driving record. Expressing his happiness while signing Bills 332-333 into law, Governor Rick Snyder said “I’m very happy that the MIP bill has been signed into law, I worked very hard for two years to get this passed.” The Bills had got unanimous support from the House and Senate.
A first-time offense would be treated much like a non-criminal violation of a rule, ordinance or regulation such as jaywalking, jumping a red light or not wearing a seat belt. A misdemeanor, on the other hand, is considered a crime typically carrying points that get added to one’s driving record. It might result in suspension or revocation of the license.
Second offense remains a misdemeanor
Although the new law would exonerate the youth from being charged with a criminal offence on the first attempt, the second offense remains a misdemeanor. A first-time offender would not have to try to obtain the MIP First Offender Diversion Program to keep an MIP charge off their record. The change is widely welcomed to help unclog the court system and give young people a second chance. Snyder also stated that while the earlier MIP law subjected many children to a jail term and jeopardized their chances of getting a decent job or admission into college, the new law would give young people a “chance to get their lives in order”.
Although driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol is illegal for all motorists, all American states have “zero-tolerance” laws for underage DUI offenses making it a criminal offense for the drivers under the legal age of 21 to drive with even a small amount of alcohol in their system. With almost 29 fatalities every day, alcohol-related crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year.
Underage drinking is a leading public health problem
Underage drinking is a significant health problem in the United States and negatively affect a student’s personal, social and academic life. Teens who drink to excess are more likely to become problem drinkers as adults. Alcohol is common among fraternities and sororities where many students indulge in reckless drinking, often overdosing and encountering near fatal experiences.
While all the states prohibit possession of alcoholic beverages by underage youths, in 2016 about 7.3 million people (aged 12 to 20) reported drinking alcohol in the past month that included 1.1 million people who reported heavy alcohol abuse and 4.5 million people who reported binge alcohol use.
Path to sobriety
Alcohol addiction is an evil that devours a person’s happiness and hurts his/her family too. The earlier one decides to quit drinking, the better can be the treatment outcomes for a healthy life afterwards.
If you know someone struggling with alcohol addiction, help him or her get immediate professional help. At the 24/7 Alcohol Abuse Help, we can help you learn more about the best treatment services in your area. Call us at our 24/7 alcohol abuse helpline (866) 480-6873 to know about the finest treatment centers for alcohol addiction across the country.