If you are a GVSU student on the Hudsonville campus, you need to be aware of a criminal charge that could affect the entire University. Judge Post in the 58th District court is very serious about underage drinking and has been treating those charged with “social gathering” very harshly. We have seen students being placed in jail for this charge, especially where there have been accidents or injuries caused as a result of the party.
The statute is listed below and we have made sure to explain every section for GVSU students. It is crucial that you read this entire statute and understand that if you have anything to do with hosting a party, even if you name is simply on the lease, you could go to jail! Know your rights and avoid situations where you might have to call your parents and hire an attorney to represent you.
MCL 750.141a: Definitions; prohibited conduct by person having control of real property; applicability of section; violation of subsection (2) as misdemeanor; penalty; evidence of rebuttable presumption; selling or furnishing alcoholic beverage to minor not authorized by act; criminal penalty.
(1) As used in this section:
(a) “Alcoholic beverage” means an alcoholic liquor as defined in section 2 of the Michigan liquor control act, Act No. 8 of the Public Acts of the Extra Session of 1933, being section 436.2 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.
(b) “Allow” means to give permission for, or approval of, possession or consumption of an alcoholic beverage or a controlled substance, by any of the following means:
(i) In writing.
(ii) By 1 or more oral statements.
(iii) By any form of conduct, including a failure to take corrective action, that would cause a reasonable person to believe that permission or approval has been given. What this means: Even a failure to take corrective action could lead to a conviction for Social Gathering!
(c) “Control over any premises, residence, or other real property” means the authority to regulate, direct, restrain, superintend, control, or govern the conduct of other individuals on or within that premises, residence, or other real property, and includes, but is not limited to, a possessory right.
What this means for a GVSU student: Even if you are not on the lease but have control over it you could be charged with this crime.
(d) “Controlled substance” means that term as defined in section 7104 of the public health code, Act No. 368 of the Public Acts of 1978, being section 333.7104 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.
(e) “Corrective action” means any of the following:
(i) Making a prompt demand that the minor or other individual depart from the premises, residence, or other real property, or refrain from the unlawful possession or consumption of the alcoholic beverage or controlled substance on or within that premises, residence, or other real property, and taking additional action described in subparagraph (ii) or (iii) if the minor or other individual does not comply with the request.
What this means for a GVSU student: you might have to tell your friends to leave or else face the consequences of a crime that carries with it potential jail time. Judge Post in the 58th District Court in Hudsonville is using this charge to try and attack underage drinking at the source.
(ii) Making a prompt report of the unlawful possession or consumption of alcoholic liquor or a controlled substance to a law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the violation.
What this means: You might have to call the police on your friends! If you think this is ridiculous, remember that the legislators put this in the statute for a reason. Judge Post will not hesitate to ask you why you did not call the police if you witnessed underage drinking or a social gathering done without your knowledge.
(iii) Making a prompt report of the unlawful possession or consumption of alcoholic liquor or a controlled substance to another person having a greater degree of authority or control over the conduct of persons on or within the premises, residence, or other real property.
What this means for a GVSU student: You might have to report a party to your Resident Agent! If this is a situation where you have a landlord you may be responsible for contacting them directly if there is a party being conducted without your knowledge and you want to avoid jail.
(f) “Minor” means an individual less than 21 years of age.
(g) “Premises” means a permanent or temporary place of assembly, other than a residence, including, but not limited to, any of the following:
(i) A meeting hall, meeting room, or conference room.
(ii) A public or private park.
What this means for a GVSU student: A social gathering can happen anywhere and you could be busted even if it is not your residence or home.
(h) “Residence” means a permanent or temporary place of dwelling, including, but not limited to, any of the following:
(i) A house, apartment, condominium, or mobile home.
(ii) A cottage, cabin, trailer, or tent.
(iii) A motel unit, hotel unit, or bed and breakfast unit.
What this means for a GVSU student: If you think you can get around the social gathering statute and jail time by having your party in a hotel room…think again! The legislators have thought of this and you could even be staying in a cottage, cabin or trailer and get busted for this!!
(i) “Social gathering” means an assembly of 2 or more individuals for any purpose, unless all of the individuals attending the assembly are members of the same household or immediate family.
What this means for GVSU students: If it is just you and a couple buddies…you could face potential jail time. This is very dangerous especially at GVSU as the townhouse parties can grow quite large due to social media and
(2) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (3), an owner, tenant, or other person having control over any premises, residence, or other real property shall not do either of the following:
(a) Knowingly allow a minor to consume or possess an alcoholic beverage at a social gathering on or within that premises, residence, or other real property.
What this means: You have to knowingly allow a minor to possess or consume. There was recently some good news at least in a Michigan Court of Appeals decision where a person who remained in the house and did not visit the party to see if there was drinking was not convicted. This is most likely the best defense to this charge if you are sleeping in a large house and have NO knowledge of underage drinking. However, the prosecutors and judge in Hudsonville might not be so easily convinced.
(b) Knowingly allow any individual to consume or possess a controlled substance at a social gathering on or within that premises, residence, or other real property.
(3) This section does not apply to the use, consumption, or possession of a controlled substance by an individual pursuant to a lawful prescription, or to the use, consumption, or possession of an alcoholic beverage by a minor for religious purposes.
(4) Except as provided in subsection (5), a person who violates subsection (2) is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 30 days or by a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.
(5) For a second or subsequent violation of subsection (2) the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days or by a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.
(6) Evidence of all of the following gives rise to a rebuttable presumption that the defendant allowed the consumption or possession of an alcoholic beverage or a controlled substance on or within a premises, residence, or other real property, in violation of this section:
(a) The defendant had control over the premises, residence, or other real property.
(b) The defendant knew that a minor was consuming or in possession of an alcoholic beverage or knew that an individual was consuming or in possession of a controlled substance at a social gathering on or within that premises, residence, or other real property.
(c) The defendant failed to take corrective action.
(7) This section does not authorize selling or furnishing an alcoholic beverage to a minor.
(8) A criminal penalty provided for under this section may be imposed in addition to any penalty that may be imposed for any other criminal offense arising from the same conduct.
The bottom line is that you need to seriously consider the consequences involved in hosting parties at GVSU. If you are charged with social gathering at GVSU, contact Attorney Ray Purdy immediately for a FREE Social Gathering consultation.