Jones working to make ‘minor in possession’ a civil fine

LANSING—Sen. Rick Jones announced on Wednesday that he is drafting a bill to make Minor in Possession (MIP) a civil fine for the first two offenses.

“Prosecutors have advised me that Minors in Possession are clogging up the court system – with some judges giving jail time and others not,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Under the bill I am working on, the misdemeanor charge for first and second offenses would be replaced with a civil fine.”

Under Jones’ proposal, the first MIP would be punishable with a $100 fine, the second offense would be a $200 fine and the third time would be a misdemeanor.

“As a former sheriff, I take underage drinking seriously, but I don’t want a student to miss out on an employment opportunity because he or she got caught with a can of beer in high school or college,” Jones said. “The problem now is that a student makes a mistake with a can of beer and ends up with a criminal record that will follow them for the rest of their life.”

Jones’ measure is likely to be introduced after spring break.