Successful resolution of two MIP cases…at the same time!

Attorney William McNeil, Of Counsel for The Law Offices of Raymond Purdy, was retained by a student with a real problem. She had been placed on probation for a first offense MIP and 17 days later…she was arrested again for an MIP at a party.

We attacked this case head on and filed motions in the new case to gain leverage on the prosecutor. We also immediately contacted the probation officer of her current case and made her aware of our attack.

This tactic held off the probation violation as they would have the same problems in their case as we saw in the new case. The officer showed up at the hearing and was now going to testify that all the kids consented to the PBT even though no word of that in the police report and the audio in the case was conspicuously turned off!

Adapt and overcome. Attorney McNeil switched gears and negotiated a plea under HYTA which allowed the new case to be off her record after another term of probation.

Back to the underlying MIP…the client had paid all her fines and had completed all her community service early. We were able to argue to the probation officer and judge that she was 17 and did not take the process seriously until now.

The judge allowed her to stay on his diversion as well! This was a huge victory and the client has an opportunity for a clean record.

I have also been successful in getting second MIP cases treated under HYTA with some strict complaints with my requirements (daily PBT testing and alcohol assessment) and the right court and judge.

Don’t give up on these cases! Fight until you cannot fight any more. Your future career is worth that much

Student takes a stand and gets a dismissal of his MIP case

Attorney William McNeil, Of Counsel for The Law Offices of Raymond Purdy, represented an unusual student who contacted me about an MIP case at a state university. He was determined from the beginning to fight the charge and was willing to do whatever it took to get a dismissal…even if that meant going to a jury trial and giving up his right to be placed on the diversion. This is certainly a risky tactic, but in his case it worked!

He was stopped by the police and intelligently explained to the officer that he did not want to answer any questions about whether or not he had been drinking. He also intelligently refused any PBT test as was his right. The officers conducted a horizontal gaze nystagmus test and concluded that he had been drinking, had an odor of alcohol and bloodshot eyes.

The problem with this? Good luck proving the fact that he possessed or consumed alcohol beyond a reasonable doubt. Because he had made the decision early in the process to fight his case all the way, there was no need to play any games with the prosecutor. It was simple. Either they dismiss the MIP charge or we were going to trial.  They dismissed the MIP charge. Case closed and his future was secure.

Anything Can Happen if You Fight an MIP Charge

Attorney William McNeil, Of Counsel for The Law Offices of Raymond Purdy,  learned after thirteen years of criminal defense that anything can and will happen when you decide to fight criminal charges and hold the police and prosecutors accountable for their actions. Just today I represented two young women who were cited for MIP charges at a large University in Michigan. They both pled guilty, with their parents present, and were given fines and costs and sent on their way. The problem, they asked for the diversion program and were told that because they were not 19 years old they did not qualify. One of the moms called me and filled me in and I was shocked to say the least.

His firm  immediately filed motions to withdraw their pleas. The judge granted our request and set the matter for a pretrial conference with the City attorney. In the police report there was no mention of any consent being obtained for the PBT tests in violation of Chowdhury. We then filed motions to suppress both the PBT results and their statements. The City attorney filed a response brief and we were set for a motion hearing today.

The City attorney was notified at 2:30 p.m. that the detective available and under subpoena did not hear any of the consent because he was in the car! In addtion, the officer that did conduct the PBT decided to go on vacation and not notify the prosecutor ahead of time. The prosecutor had already used up a request for an adjourment.

The case did not end there unfortunately. The City attorney wanted the girls to ask the judge for diversion. I refused to entertain this and the prosecutor dismissed both cases WITH prejudice, meaning they can never be charged again. The girls will get a check from the court and their case is closed.

If you think you may want to fight your MIP charge, contact our firm immediately at 1-616-502-1646

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

Successful Motion to Suppress Statements and PBT

Attorney William McNeil, Of Counsel for the Law Offices of Raymond Purdy, was successful once again in suppressing the statements made by his client and the PBT results. The prosecuting attorney sat down with defense counsel before the motion and the first words out of her mouth were…”you know you are going to lose this motion”.  The officer was put on the stand and testified that he grabbed the individuals and escorted them to his police car. This was clearly a detention and they were not free to leave. This triggered the need to read our clients their Miranda rights. The officer did not do so and all of the admissions about having consumed alcohol were thrown out by the trial judge.

In addition, the officer threatened to take our client to the hospital if he did not take the PBT test. The judge ruled that there was no consent from the minor and therefore threw out all the results of the PBT.  This matter is now set for a jury trial and the prosecuting attorney stated after the motion that she will be dismissing the charge and refiling it as a disorderly person case.

If you have been charged with an MIP, you may have defenses to your case. It is worth your time and money to have an experienced attorney look at your police report and fight for your constitutional rights. Contact Attorney Purdy today at 1-616-502-1646.

2011 Update!!  Our office has continued to be successful in getting MIP charges dismissed, recently in Kalamazoo District Court. It was clear from talking to many of the kids at a party that the police were threatening to taser individuals if they did not come out of hiding. They were gathered in the kitchen or common area and forced to admit whether or not they had been drinking and then forced to submit to the PBT. The motor vehicle recording was crucial as it captured all of the dialogue and confirmed that no consent was gained nor were Miranda rights given. Both cases were dismissed before the motion hearing.

Michigan MIP Defenses

Even though People v. Chowdhury was decided in late 2009, the police are still not getting clear and unequivocal consent to take a PBT test. In Kalamazoo, the police are being encouraged to wear their microphones to tape the consent question and some are using a consent form. You need to be aware that there is NO penalty for refusing this test. They would have to get a warrant to get your sample and everyone else ticketed. You also do not need to speak with the police other than to give them your identification. Remember this when you are out and about as school is starting soon believe it or not.