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    question about open intoxicants law in motor vehicle in MI

    i was recently cited with an MIP and open intoxicants in a motor vehicle. the situation is a little complicated: i was parked on the side of the road (my car was off, but the keys were in the ignition) because there was an accident that had apparently occurred before i had gotten there and there was an ambulance with its lights on. (i had seen the ambulance far off behind me so i pulled over, therefore i was parked before the ambulance or any police officers had arrived). i had been waiting a while so i decided to ask a paramedic how long it would take and a police officer said i stumbled out of the car and smelled like alcohol. i refused the breathalizer and was brought to jail for a night to sober up. my question is whether or not this intoxicant charge is legitimate because the officer said i could have been charged with a dui if the car was on, so why wouldnt the same be true for the open intox? i looked at the law online and it said that the person must be transporting the alcohol. i am assuming that would mean that the car must at least be running, because otherwise there is no evidence that i was driving or that i even planned on driving. also one part of the law said "A person may transport or possess alcoholic liquor in a container that is open or uncapped or upon which the seal is broken within the passenger compartment of a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles in this state, if the vehicle does not have a trunk or compartment separate from the passenger compartment, the container is enclosed or encased, and the container is not readily accessible to the occupants of the vehicle." i am wondering if my situation would pertain to this because the alcohol was in a bottle, capped and in a zipped up backpack in the backseat of my mazda mpv (SUV which doesnt have trunkspace separated from passenger area. if that was the case then i would just be guilty of Minor in Possession, which i am already being charged with.

    i would greatly appreciate if anyone could tell me a) if there can be an open intoxicants charge when the car is off, and b) if the deal about the trunkspace and where the alcohol was located would be a legitimate claim in court.

    Last edited by amercuri; 07-11-2008 at 04:25 PM.


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    MIPin Michigan

    You are correct in your assumptions about MIP. You certainly could have been charged with DUI under those circumstances, or Minor In Consumption of alcohol, which means you are guilty for having it in your system. Tim Klisz, attorney, Livonia, Michigan

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