Correction appended: The name of Department of Public Safety captain Joe Piersante was misspelled in this article.
Every weekend, it’s another story.
This past Saturday, it was a 20-year-old wearing a Michigan T-shirt. He was sitting handcuffed on the curb of Greenwood Street with Mace-tainted tears in his eyes and two Ann Arbor police officers standing behind him. He was underage and he had been caught drinking.
Ann Arbor Police Sgt. Ed Dreslinski said the 20-year-old had stumbled onto the sidewalk with a red plastic cup in hand. When officers asked to speak to him, he started to run.
The police officers caught up to him, Dreslinski said, and sprayed him in the face with Mace when he struggled further. Instead of receiving a minor-in-possession ticket, he said, the suspect probably will be charged with resisting and opposing a police officer, which is a felony in Michigan.
“He made a bad situation worse by not cooperating,” Dreslinski said.
That minor’s story ended much worse than most MIP violations, and the entire ordeal could have been avoided by recognizing what to do — – and what not to do- when drinking in Ann Arbor.
Here’s a run-down of a few laws to remember if you don’t want to end up like that 20-year-old.
? No one, regardless of age, may be on public property with open intoxicants.
Students violating this law who are under the legal drinking age of 21 will be given MIP tickets and older students will be issued open intoxicant tickets, both misdemeanors.
Public property includes sidewalks, streets and the parkway in between, among other areas.
Joe Piersante, a Department of Public Safety captain, said campus officers are bound by law to report any violation. Ann Arbor police officers can choose whether to report a violation, but the department holds a no-tolerance policy on open intoxication violations. If you’re caught on the street with alcohol, you will be issued a ticket.
? Police may issue noise violations after 11 p.m. if any noise can be heard beyond the property line.
Dresleski said officers rarely show up at house parties unless the department receives a neighbor’s noise complaint.
“We don’t care if you party all night unless it interferes with others’ rights to peace and quiet,” said Dresleski.
The Ann Arbor police now chart noise violations by address – instead of by person receiving the violation – and the price of the ticket goes up with each offense.
? Ann Arbor police might not be able to enter your residence immediately, but you may not always be able to keep them out.
In general, Ann Arbor police only enter a residence under three conditions: they are invited inside, no one who owns the residence is available to speak to police, or police obtain a search warrant.
Dresleski said police also would enter a residence if a crime, such as a fistfight, is being committed inside. If a student continually refuses to answer the door or to turn down loud music, police may obtain a search warrant.
“I can get a search warrant in about 20 minutes,” Dresleski said. “But only when people are being unreasonable.”
Persanti said the same rules apply in the dorms, but not everyone in uniform has the right to enter your dorm. Housing Security officers, who look much like DPS police officers but do not carry guns, and resident advisers cannot legally enter a dorm room unless invited.
? Hospital staff will not call the police if an underage student arrives in the emergency room with alcohol poisoning.
Police are required to send students to the emergency room if necessary, DPS spokeswoman Diane Brown said. The AAPD will send students to the hospital if the student has a blood alcohol level of .35 or over or is incapacitated. DPS will send anyone to the hospital who has a blood alcohol level of .2 or is incapacitated, and anyone with a reading of .08 or greater will be taken to a DPS holding cell until sober.
? Officers must be able to articulate a reason they are stopping students on the street.
“Students are stopped for drawing attention to themselves,” Brown said. “Police aren’t just waiting for something to do. Destroying property, urinating in public, making too much noise, falling down and passing out all draw attention.”
Dreslinski said the best policy when talking to an officer is to cooperate.
“Generally people talk themselves into tickets, not out of them,” he said.