Social Host and Social Gathering charges are new tactic in fighting underage drinking

If you have been charged with a Minor in Possession (MIP) charge and were involved in a large party or social gathering, you need to be aware of a new weapon being used by law enforcement and prosecutors. The social gathering statute in Michigan states that if someone “allows” minors to consume or even possess alcoholic beverages, they may be guilty of a misdemeanor that carries a maximum $1000 penalty and 30 days in jail.

At GVSU and Ottawa County with Judge Kenneth Post, this could mean jail time. I have personally witnessed kids being put in jail for up to 10 days depending on the circumstances and their prior record.

The real problem with this charge is that the police are often times telling minors that they will only charge an MIP and not the social gathering or excessive noise charge. However, prosecutors are the only ones who can decide what and who to charge, therefore you need to be aware that additional charges could be authorized against you at ANY time in the process.

The other problem that I see with the statute is that it creates a rebuttale presumption that if you are the owner, tenant or have some other right to live in a house or apartment, you therefore had knowledge of the drinking. The kid is then forced to rebut this presumption by presenting evidence that he or she either did not know about the party and drinking or tried to stop that party as it states in the statute.

If you or your housemates were hosting a party that was raided, you need to speak with experienced defense counsel immediately.

Contact Attorney Purdy today for a free Social Host or MIP consultation at (616) 502-1646