In Grand Traverse County, a Minor In Possession (MIP) is a misdemeanor and will appear on your criminal record, unless the right decisions are made at the beginning of your case. A person under 21 charged with a MIP has 10 days to respond to the charge. Under everyday circumstances, it takes the Court at least a few business days to even receive the police report. Once the Court receives the complaint, the Defendant must appear for an arraignment on the charge. At this time the Defendant will be read his rights, including his or her right to an attorney. Following arraignment, the Defendant must attend a pretrial conference with the prosecutor where they may be offered a plea agreement. Finally, the Defendant must appear before the judge or magistrate for sentencing. Overall, this can be a rather lengthy process.
What many minors (and their families) may not realize is that there are programs in Grand Traverse County (and others) that when properly requested may allow the Defendant to avoid having the MIP go on his or her permanent record. MIPs are serious charges that can prevent a person from getting a certain job, receiving a professional license, or even keep them from attending their school of choice.
Last month, , with the help of their attorney Heidi Hodek at Dingeman, Dancer & Christopherson, PLC, four clients were able to have their entire case complete less than one business day after receiving their MIPs. Not only were these clients able to have their cases heard at an an efficiency unusual in our court system (thanks in no small part to the work of the Court employees), but none of them will have the MIPs appear on their record in the future. This means that if they are ever asked whether they have been convicted of a crime, they will able to honestly answer “no.” At Dingeman, Dancer & Christopherson, PLC, our clients are our highest priority. Our knowledge of the criminal justice system and understanding of the law and alternatives to sentencing.