Facts: CMU Student under the age of 21 is walking down Main Street after consuming a beer. As he/she is walking a police office on foot approaches student.
Officer: Why are you walking funny?
Student: I didn’t think I was..
Officer: I smell alcohol coming from your person and your eyes look glossy, have you been drinking?
Officer: I don’t believe you why are you talking and walking funny.
Student: I did drink a beer about an hour ago.
Officer: I am writing you a ticket for an MIP do you have valid identification with you?
WHAT SHOULD YOU HAVE DONE? First you should not be drinking if under the age of 21, and you should never Drink and Drive. But, if you happen to find yourself in the above circumstances 1) You have a right to remain silent and do not have to answer any of the questions that are asked by officer. The officer is doing an investigation and you HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT AND REQUEST A LAWYER. ( LAWYER UP).. The backlash is some officers will turn this silence into a confrontation and attempt to charge you with obstructing justice.. I am not accusing any office in Mount Pleasant of violating students constitutional rights I am only trying to inform and educate you as to what your rights are.
WHAT IF I AM CHARGED WITH AN MIP AND THE OFFICER NEVER GAVE ME A breath test? Unfortunately under Michigan Law the officer would testify in trial that once he/she approached your eyes were red and bloodshot, your balance was off and he/she could smell intoxicants illuminating from your person. This is how they justify approaching you in the first place. We live in America and have a right to walk down the street without being approached or harassed from law enforcement. The above scenario is what the prosecutor would attempt to offer into testimony during trial to prove that you had consumed alcohol.
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS IF I RECEIVE AN MIP TICKET?
Depending on where you receive the ticket there are a number of possibilities:
1) If this is your first MIP you should be eligible for the Deferral or Diversion PROGRAM .
Deferral program: After fulfillment of the terms and conditions of probation, the court will discharge the defendant and dismiss the proceedings..
Diversion Program: This program is set up through the City Attorney or County Prosecuting Attorney’s office. Typically the defendant is issued a ticket by the officer. Within the next few weeks you might receive a letter in the mail indicating that if you pay a fine typically $250.00 and complete community service the matter will be dismissed without the burden of appearing in court. Actually, if you receive a Diversion you can still utilize a deferral on another occasion, courts will not have record of the diversion.
Note: If the defendant was arrested he/she will not be eligible for a diversion program.
MIP fines and cost: The Secretary of State may suspend your driver’s license if you have a prior on your record that was not deferred. Screening and Assessment for substance abuse and rehabilitation may be part of any sentence, all at the defendant’s expense. Community Service can also be ordered.
If you are found guilty of an MIP without the benefit of a deferral program the conviction will attach to your Michigan Driver’s abstract. More than one MIP on your driving record will result in suspension of privileges..
PLEASE DO NOT RELY upon any of the information contained in this article when trying to represent yourself. You should always consult with an attorney before relying upon any written advice, article, blog etc…Jurisdictions vary regarding the programs they offer..
CMU Student Lawyer Todd L. Levitt has been representing CMU Students for more than 18 years. Todd L. Levitt graduated from CMU back in 1988.
Todd L. Levitt also teaches as an adjunct professor in The College of Business Administration.
Todd L. Levitt can be reached for a free consultation at 989-772-6000