August 28, 2018

Juvenile Crimes

Juvenile Crimes

The Very Dangerous and Easy to Overlook Crimes Involving Under 21 Juveniles

Youth crimes by young men and women between sixteen and twenty-one are dealt with quite aggressively in Michigan. In many cases, there are ways out of these problems if serious attention is given in a timely fashion. Often waiting results in life-long repercussions that are horribly regretful later on, often without recourse.

Are you or someone you love facing charges related to Michigan’s Open Intoxicant Law? Protect your rights and your future.

If your minor family member has been charged with a crime, you will need an aggressive juvenile crimes attorney to represent their interests. We can discuss your child’s situation with the prosecutors and referees who will hear the case, and help keep them out of the juvenile home. At The Williams Law Firm, we can also help protect your son, daughter, or grandchild’s juvenile record. Under some circumstances we may be able to keep a juvenile conviction off your child’s record. For a free consultation to discuss your child’s juvenile crimes defense, contact us today.

Why is Minor in Possession (MIP) of Alcohol Such a Serious Offense?

At first sight, a Minor in Possession (MIP), or a Minor in Consumption (MIC) charge does not seem to be a serious matter. Michigan has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to minors and alcohol. MIP does not carry any jail time but it usually is coupled with a portable breath test test (PBT) probationary requirement which also involves a field-testing device carried by police officers as common equipment. Pleading guilty typically requires a payment of a fine and therefore people tend to treat it as it as if it was a parking ticket type of matter or otherwise do not perceive it as a serious matter while the issue is pending before a court and just plead guilty to it.

If you were caught by police at a party or in a car that was pulled over and you were ticketed for having alcohol in your hand or seen in the act of putting it into your body, a conviction on your record could haunt you for the balance of your life. You could be excluded from certain types of employment because of your permanent record. You need a smart and aggressive criminal defense lawyer who knows how to fend off the prosecutor.

This crime does not go away as a youth/juvenile offense. It stays on as a criminal conviction forever. How does this effect you as this seemingly upon first impression appears to be a small matter? It could well block your future attempts to rid yourself of a future felony or misdemeanor conviction of a significant caliber if such a matter should arise. You must rid yourself of this type of charge while it is pending, which in your case, could be now.

In Michigan, if you are under 21 there is no such thing as “responsible” drinking.

It’s not about just drinking and driving. Under the law as it stands now, an officer can require anyone under 21 to take a breath test given probable cause. Penalties for under 21 while driving with ANY alcohol in your body are: 30 to 90 days in jail, up to $250 in fines plus costs, $125 reinstatement fee, up to 45 days of community service, alcohol assessment, alcohol education, four points on your driving record, and likely probation for up to two years.

However, if you act while the case is pending on a first offense MIP and so request consideration under MCL 436.1703 (Section 1703), a deferred judgment of guilt, to wit: the adjudication of guilt/responsibility is not entered. If such is granted by discretion of the District Judge, the entire file becomes a nonpublic record while the proceedings are deferred and the individual is on probation, and upon successful completion an order of discharge and dismissal is entered. All of this is predicated on the youthful person’s successful completion of the probationary term. Upon dismissal, the entire file including court proceedings and transcripts are removed.

Juvenile Fines and Penalties

Minor in Possession (MIP)

Purchase, consuming or possessing alcohol when under the age of 21 is an offense yielding:

  • $100 fine plus court costs.
  • Community service, assessment, education classes.
  • Possible probation.
  • A second MIP means loss of license.

Actions for Drivers Under Age 21: Zero Tolerance

First Offense

  • Up to $250 fine and/or up to 360 hours of community service.
  • Driver license is restricted for 30 days.
  • Four points on driver record.
  • $500 Driver Responsibility Fee for 2 consecutive years.

Second Offense (within seven years)

  • Up to $500 fine and/or Up to 60 days community service.
  • Up to 93 days in jail.
  • Driver license suspension 90 days.
  • Any prior drunk driving conviction results in a minimum one-year driver license revocation.
  • Four points on driver record.
  • $500 Driver Responsibility Fee for two consecutive years.

Breathalyzer Test (PBT) and/or Station House Test Refusal

  • For refusing to take a PBT breath test, there are mixed results under the law as it is a civil infraction, and not a misdemeanor as later explained, but for non-drivers, convictions have resulted. This is worth disputing.
  • For refusing a station house test (Spectrograph or Data Master test) as per the implied consent law, license is seized, forced blood test upon a search warrant being issued, 6 points, costs, and 12 months of no license in lieu of the expense under a hardship claim of going to Circuit Court for a restricted license.

Person Under 21 Purchase/Consume/Possess Alcohol

First Offense

  • $100 fine.
  • No action is taken against driver license.

Second Offense

  • $200 fine.
  • Driver license suspended for 30 days/restricted for 60 days.

Third Offense

  • $500 fine
  • Driver license is suspended for 60 days/restricted for 305 days.
  • Community service may be required.
  • Alcohol screening may be required.

Person Under 21 Transport or Possess Alcohol in a Motor Vehicle

Up to a $100 fine in all cases.

First Offense

  • No action is taken against driver license.

Second Offense

  • Driver license is suspended for 30 days/restricted for 60 days.

Third Offense

  • Driver license is suspended for 60 days/restricted for 305 days.
  • Alcohol screening may be required.
  • Community service may be required.
  • Two points on driver record.
  • Vehicle can be impounded up to 30 days.

Use Fraudulent ID to Purchase Liquor

Using a fake ID or providing one to a person under 21 to buy alcohol is an offense yielding:

  • 93 days in jail, and/or $100 fine plus court costs.
  • Mandatory suspension of driver license for 90 days.
  • Substance abuse assessment and alcohol screening may be required.

Additional Fines and Penalties:

  • Providing or purchasing alcohol for a person under 21 is up to 60 days in jail and $1,000. Should a death result from the offense, up to ten years in prison and $5,000.
  • Driving with ANY alcohol in your system with a passenger under 16 in the vehicle is 93 days in jail, $500 fine plus court costs, and 60 days of community service.
  • Transportation or possession of open or unopened alcohol in the vehicle by a person under 21 involves 90 days in jail, $100 fine plus costs, impounding of the vehicle for 15 to 30 days, alcohol assessment and education. Note: this has been used in situations where there were empty containers (shown by testimony or statement to have been recently consumed).
  • Letting someone use your car who has been drinking or using drugs has a 93 day jail penalty, $500 fine plus costs, and if any accident results, up to 5 years in prison.

Any under 21 drinking/driving violation will remain on a drivers record INDEFINITELY under what is commonly referred to as “Heidi’s Law” and any additional convictions occurring within a seven year period will result in the subsequent offense being charged,and will be so considered by the Secretary of State as a second offense meaning drivers license revocation for one to five years (mandatory) with no restricted license being allowed along with no appeal to the Circuit Court on hardship grounds permitted, plus no guarantee of license return after the year is over -only the right to petition. Lastly, that being under 21 with any alcohol drinking conviction can further haunt an individual if there ever is a third incident as that, under Heidi’s Law, will be considered a non-expungable felony for life, and quite possibly saying “goodbye” to getting a future passport. That one-time underage drinking conviction could be the decisive factor in whether a future plea bargaining arrangement would be agreed to or denied. Remember, too – COMPUTERS NEVER FORGET!

And take special note: Heidi’s Law (third offense = lifetime felony) does not count as a conviction of Reckless Driving, BUT Reckless Driving does count with regard towards any two alcohol offenses (Impaired Driving + Reckless Driving, for example) within seven years. This means the Secretary of State will revoke the drivers license for one to five years with no Circuit Court hardship restricted license appeal permitted.

However, there is case law, to wit: People v. Rutledge, 250 Mich. App. 1 (2002), 645 N.W. 2d 333, which, in part, negates aspects of the MIP arrest. This case dealt with the MIP law.

Further, in another ruling dealing with the legality of the PBT use, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Northern Division, the PBT was found to be an invasive search requiring a warrant. Judge David M. Lawson ruled that the Bay City ordinance was virtually the same as the State Statute [MCL 436.1703 (6)] and ruled the State Statute unconstitutional in an opinion dated Nov. 18, 2003.

Yet still universities, colleges and often county prosecutors still authorize warrants and judges will accept guilty pleas under the 1998 law if not timely challenged.

Juvenile Crimes Defense

Prior to the 1963 overhaul of the Michigan Constitution and the statutory laws under the Revised Adjudicature Act, the now-called Michigan Compiled Laws, children went to Surrogate Court. Thereafter it became Probate Court, a place where juveniles were sent for bad behavior, parents were sanctioned as a result, the senile and mentally infirmed got various types of guardianships for or against them, where you went to get emancipated if you were an adolescent wanting to get out of the parents house early, getting your name changed, etc. Recently this has changed again. It is now called the “Family Division” of the County Circuit Court. Now there is a Circuit Court empowerment with all of the equity powers of the highest trial court in Michigan.

What is HYTA?

The Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (MCL 762.13), (HYTA) or (YTA) as it is commonly referred to, is a federal statute that created a model for the states to adapt if they wished to in the early 1970’s. It has been recently been overhauled to be more inclusive of relief being grantable to the young adult. It states in part that subject to the acceptance by the court, that the offense(s) (could include numerous counts in a single sequence of incidents) cannot carry a potential life sentence, be not of certain classes of offenses, and primarily that the individual (defendant) was under the age of 25 on the date that the matter took place. It is not limited to drugs but is open to a wide range of crimes for both juveniles as well as those between 17 (usual age for charging as an adult in Michigan) and their 25th birthday. It does not include drinking and driving matters nor does it cover any traffic code statute. However many traffic code matters can be dismissed and recharged by agreement as there is an identical criminal code statute which corresponds to it and that will qualify under HYTA; “Fleeing and Eluding a Police Officer” is but one example of this. One more factor: If the judge on a subsequent case following one granting of HYTA agrees, there is no statutory prohibition against using HYTA more than once.

What are Section 7411 and Section 7410 under the Health Code?

Section 7411 is frequently used to give a first time possessor or user of a controlled substance, which drug qualifies under the accepted drug schedules by statute, an opportunity to have the guilty plea “adjudicated without guilt.” This means that, within the discretion of the court, an individual’s guilty plea will not be entered but rather held in abeyance until such time as the defendant successfully completes the terms of this special probation. This typically means a drug program, urine drops to assure compliance, periodic visits to the probation department, PBT testing, possible community service and an imposed curfew. If the probation under Section 7411 is violated and thereafter terminated, the conviction from the plea earlier tendered is then entered and this will now include a mandatory period of drivers license suspensions with the first month or two months as “hard time” (no court restricted limited license being available for work or school). Lastly, under the “Drug Court” statute in Michigan, and if your court has a sanctioned Drug or Sobriety court, and further only if the judge agrees, it is permissible that a second Section 7411 can be granted upon compliance with the terms of Drug Court’s probation even though the alleged one-time opportunity to avail the use of Section 7411 had previously been used.

Section 7410 is a statute that we use only in special circumstances. It involves “distribution without remuneration”, and means that the illegal substance was divided without compensation occurring following a purchase. Think of four friends in a college dorm: They pool their money, buy a pound of marijuana at the cheaper quantity price, and later split it up among themselves. It does not carry the benefit of a differed sentence as does Section 7411 but it is a misdemeanor as opposed to a felony because of the quantity involved and the lack of trafficking. It has been applied under a “LaFay Plea” to cover growing marijuana plants (i.e., manufacturing) not for distribution involving profit or trafficking per se but for two or more people growing it (manufacturing) in a reasonable amount for their own personal consumption.

Special Note: All drug convictions which are not taken under HYTA or Section 7411 result in the suspension of your Michigan Drivers License for a period of six months to one year, with no restricted driving privileges for the first thirty days, and sixty days for the second offense within seven years. These restrictions, unlike those stemming from all other convictions do not emanate from the Secretary of State but rather from the sentencing judge in your case.

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