Open Intox aka Drinking in Public in Ann Arbor

It is illegal in Ann Arbor to drink alcohol, beer, wine, spirits, or what the government called “intoxicating substances” while on public property.  If you are caught by the Ann Arbor Police Department drinking on public property, then you will get charged with a misdemeanor called open intox or possession on public street.

So what does this mean and how can you get in trouble for Open Intox in Ann Arbor?

This means that if you are not on private property, the police can stop you to give you a misdemeanor ticket for open intox.  Some examples of  public property are sidewalks, alleys, the street, parks, athletic fields, some shared driveways, some parking lots, railroad tracks.  Even if you have one foot on private property, that is not enough to protect you from getting charged.

One way that people get in trouble is by going to a tailgate on a Football Saturday and taking their alcoholic beverage with them to another place after the drink was opened.

What is an open container in Ann Arbor?

An open container is any alcoholic container where the seal has been broken.  This means that if you opened a bottle of alcohol and then closed the cap, it is considered an open container for legal purposes in Ann Arbor.

What if I am over 21?

If you are over 21, this rule applies to you too.  This just means you can get charged with an MIP or Minor in Possession of Alcohol too.  Being of the legal drinking age doesn’t mean that you can drink in public.

What do I do if I am charged with Open Intox in Ann Arbor?

Call me, I’m an experienced criminal defense attorney in Ann Arbor.  Your case will most likely be heard in the 15th District Court in front of Judge Hines, Judge Valvo, Judge Burke, or Magistrate Garwood.  Some people qualify for a first offender type program.  This program can make it possible to avoid a criminal conviction.

If you think you were charged incorrectly or the police were wrong, you may have a defense to open intox.  I can discuss your options with you.

What if you don’t live in Ann Arbor, or are from out-of-town or a different state?

If you are charged with open intox in Ann Arbor, it is possible that I can go to court on your behalf.  It is possible you won’t have to appear at all so long as I have the proper paperwork and authorizations in order.  Whether this is possible will depend on your criminal history, age, conduct that day, among other things.  I’ve successfully represented clients in the Ann Arbor 15th District Court without them even going to court.  This is really helpful if you live in another city or state and got in trouble while trying to see a Michigan Wolverines game.

Call me for a free consultation if you were charged with a crime in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Saline, Milan, Dexter, Chelsea, Manchester, Jackson, East Lansing, Howell, Fowlerville, Brighton, Plymouth, Northville, Belleville or the surrounding Washtenaw, Wayne, Jackson, Livingston, Lenawee counties.

Here is the actual Ann Arbor City Ordinance and the link:

Except in those areas where consumption of alcoholic liquor is permitted by this chapter, no person shall possess alcoholic liquor in an open, uncapped, or unsealed container on a public street.

(Ord. No. 09-18, § 1, 5-18-09)