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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Saturday, October 10, 2009

MIP Probation Violation Should Not Result in Jail

This post was originally uploaded to the electronic criminal lawyer in February 2009.  It has regained some relevance given the perennial campus law enforcement sweeps for underaged drinking.  Re-posted for your consideration:

Recent discussions between criminal defense attorneys comparing notes about district court judges in Oakland and Genesse counties have revealed that many of their MIP clients are subjected to jail sentences when they subsequently plead guilty to a violation of probation. The law prohibits any jail sentence for a minor that pleads guilty to possession of alcohol. In recent years, some district court judges have characterized violations as contemptable conduct, a misdemeanor that carries up to 93-days in jail. Other judges have simply ignored the law, tossing the probation violators in jail despite the protestations of their attorneys.

As the practice has spread among some judges in both Oakland and Genesse counties, members of the Criminal Defense Association of Michigan have began to organize a coordinated defense to the wrongful jailings.

The absurdity, on both sides of this coin, is never more manifest than in the annual law enforcement ritual of underage drinking sweeps, especially on college campuses. On the one hand, the sweeps advance the goal of reducing alcohol-related damage and injury. On the other hand, it can be viewed as an exploitive device designed to raise revenue for university heights. College binge drinking has been with us for a long time; perhaps a fresh look, prompted by criminal justice statistics, will tell us something about our college-age children and thus, something about ourselves.

If you or your family member is faced with a violation of probation charge and the underlying conviction was an MIP, contact a criminal defense lawyer before going to court. You could very possibly save you or your family member some jail time.