Is tailgating in a parked car on the street legal in Michigan?

Tailgating is a part of most sporting events.  In Ann Arbor, Michigan, tailgating is widespread, especially before a University of Michigan Wolverines game at the Big House.  One question I am asked repeatedly is can I tailgate in my car on a cold or rainy day?

Is it legal to tailgate in my parked car in Michigan?

This is not an easy question to answer because the real answer is “it depends”.  If the car is parked on a public roadway like a street or public parking lot, then you may have an issue.  The police can issue anyone drinking inside the car with open containers in an automobile, especially if the car is on.  They can also issue alcohol on the highway criminal charges, or even drunk driving if the car is on and key in the ignition.  To make matters worst, if the charge is written under the motor vehicle code, then any conviction will be permanent meaning that you can’t get it expunged. I do not recommend drinking inside a car.

If the car is parked on private property, then you may have some protections, but the way the Michigan law is written, the person in the driver’s seat may still have an issue.

Can I tailgate outside my car on the street?

This again isn’t generally allowed if you are on a public roadway.  If you have an open container, then you risk being charged with a disorderly drunk, open intoxicants in public, alcohol on the highway, among other charges.  If you are going to tailgate, then you should do so in designated areas like the golf course, just don’t cross the street with a beer or drink in your hand.

If you or someone you know is arrested while tailgating at a University of Michigan game, then call me so that you understand your options.  Its important to hire an attorney that works on these types of cases to ensure that you have the best outcome from a bad situation.  I am available for a free consultation and serve Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Saline, Milan, Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, and the surrounding counties.