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  1. #1

    Default Open Intox in Michigan

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Michigan.

    Ok so this is what happened. I was coming home from work and was pulled over for having expired plates. The cop did not tell me why he was pulling me over just proceeded to put me in the back of his car while he demanded a search. I didn't believe this search was legal but apparently he had a warrant for me which was from about a year ago with a ticket I paid. The warrant was a mistake, I already called the court about it and it was quickly dismissed. The cop said he had probably cause from smelling weed in my vehicle. He searched my car for about a half hour and did not find any weed but he found empty vile, along with half of a 40oz that was on the floor in my car by back seats. I was charged with open intox along with expired plates. My question is, since my car is an explorer with no separate trunk, am I permitted to have this container on the floor in the back?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Open Intox in Michigan

    The warrant may well have been a mistake, but it was nonetheless a valid basis to place you under arrest. Between the warrant and the smell of marijuana in your vehicle, it's going to be a difficult search to beat.

    In terms of the open intox statute, subsection 2 describes your defense if you don't have a trunk in your vehicle.
    Quote Quoting MCL 257.624a Transportation or possession of alcoholic liquor in container open or uncapped or upon which seal broken; violation as misdemeanor; exception.
    (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person who is an operator or occupant shall not 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 within the passenger compartment of a moving vehicle in any place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, in this state.

    (2) 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.

    (3) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor. As part of the sentence, the person may be ordered to perform community service and undergo substance abuse screening and assessment at his or her own expense as described in section 703(1) of the Michigan liquor control code of 1998, 1998 PA 58, MCL 436.1703. A court shall not accept a plea of guilty or nolo contendere for a violation of this section from a person charged solely with a violation of section 625(6).

    (4) This section does not apply to a passenger in a chartered vehicle authorized to operate by the state transportation department.

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