What You Need to Know about Laws, Policies and Ordinances Involving Alcohol and Other Drugs

Laws, Policies and Ordinances Involving Alcohol and Other Drugs

The University of Michigan seeks to provide an environment free of the adverse effects of alcohol and other drug use. Alcohol is a major national public health issue on college campuses because related behaviors can lead to life-altering consequences such as regretted decisions, lost academic potential, discipline, arrest and serious harm to self and others.

Members of the university community can be held accountable for violations of federal, state and local laws and ordinances, as well as the University Policy on Alcohol and Other Drug Use and the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities

Under 21Under 21

  • It is illegal to drink alcohol if you are under 21 and can result in a Minor in Possession (MIP) violation.
  • It is illegal to purchase, provide or serve alcohol to anyone under 21.
  • The body is considered a container. If someone under the age of 21 has consumed alcohol and police have a reasonable suspicion that they have been consuming alcohol, police can issue an MIP. 

Drinking and DrivingDrinking and Driving

  • It is illegal for those under 21 to drive after drinking any amount of alcohol.
  • It is illegal for those 21 and older to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, or any BAC if driver appears impaired.

Public UrinationPublic Urination

  • It is illegal to urinate in any public place not designated for that purpose including alley space.
  • A person caught urinating in public may be charged with indecent exposure.


  • It is illegal to serve alcohol to anyone under 21 at a private party.
  • Hosts can be held responsible for injuries an intoxicated person causes or incurs at and after leaving a party.
  • Police may issue noise violations if any unreasonable noise may be heard beyond the property line and/or is disturbing others. There is a specific city ordinance that covers the hours of 10pm-7 am.

Open containerOpen Containers

  • It is illegal to be on public property with open containers of alcohol. Public property includes sidewalks, streets and public buildings.
  • It is a violation of university policy for anyone to consume or possess alcohol inside any university athletic facility, including Michigan Stadium.

Prescription Drug MisusePrescription Drug Misuse

  • It is illegal to misuse prescription medication, i.e. continue to use medication when the prescription is no longer valid, use contrary to the prescription, or give or sell drugs to another person. Misusing prescription drugs can result in conviction with jail time. 


  • Federal law prohibiting cannabis preempts state laws that legalize the drug. The use of recreational or medicinal cannabis in any form, including edibles and extracts, is prohibited by university policy and federal law.
  • Possession of cannabis on U-M property is a misdemeanor with the possible consequences of fines, arrest, and jail time. For anyone under the age of 21, possession of cannabis in the City of Ann Arbor is a civil infraction with a fine that increases with each subsequent infraction.
  • In the City of Ann Arbor and on the U-M campus, it is illegal to consume cannabis in public, and it is illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis. 
  • For more information please refer to the DPSS Marijuana FAQs page

Smoke-Free CampusTobacco-Free Campus

  • U-M is tobacco-free on all grounds, in parking structures, and in buildings.


Parent/Family CommunicationAssault, Battery, Criminal Sexual Conduct, and Hazing 

  • It is a violation of university policy and state and local law to physically harm, sexually assault or haze another person.
  • Consent for a sexual activity means a clear and unambiguous agreement, expressed outwardly through mutually understandable words or actions. It is always freely given and both people must feel that they are able to express yes or no at any point during sexual activity. The partner escalating sexual activity is responsible for obtaining consent before proceeding. 
  • A person who is incapacitated is unable to give consent. Incapacitation means a person lacks the ability to make informed, rational judgments about whether or not to engage in sexual activity. When alcohol or other drugs are involved, incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication; the level of impairment must be significant enough to render a person unable to give consent.
  • Students should be cautious before engaging in sexual activity when either person has been drinking alcohol or using other drugs. 

Parent/Family CommunicationParent/Family Communication Program

  • The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Section 952 allows institutions of higher education to notify parents if a student under the age of 21 commits a disciplinary violation involving alcohol or other drugs.
  • Because of the health and safety risk inherent in alcohol and other drug misuse, U-M notifies parents/family members when first-year students under age 21 are involved in serious or repeated alcohol or other drug events.
  • See also Communication with Parents/Family regarding Alcohol and Other Drug Harm.

Disorderly ConductDisorderly Conduct

  • It is illegal to be intoxicated in a public place and endanger the safety of another person and/or damage property.
  • Any behavior that interferes with the safe operation of a university bus/vehicle or the safe enjoyment of other passengers is a violation of university policy. Examples include vomiting, fighting, urinating, defecating, yelling, jumping, and throwing objects.


  • Police officers from the U-M Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS) and the City of Ann Arbor cite students for alcohol and other drug-related offenses, both on and off-campus.
  • Police increase enforcement during high-risk times of the year.
  • Medical personnel will not call the police when an underage drinker is at the hospital. 
  • If DPSS or Ann Arbor police are involved, a Minor in Possession (MIP) can be issued.

Medical AmnestyMedical Amnesty

  • The State of Michigan provides for medical amnesty to remove perceived barriers to calling for or seeking help. Any individual, including those under 21, are exempt from prosecution if they voluntarily present themselves or initiate contact with law enforcement or medical services as a result of alcohol intoxication, or an overdose of any controlled substance (including a prescription drug). 
  • This law also provides amnesty from prosecution of the above for those who report experiencing criminal sexual misconduct, or who assist those who report experiencing such misconduct. 
  • Students may be required to complete U-M educational measures related to the incident. 
  • For more information, see Medical Amnesty.

Fake IDFake IDs

  • It is illegal to possess, use or make a false ID.



U-M offers resources to educate campus and community members about the consequences of illegal or excessive alcohol and other drug use, and to assist them with making informed choices.

University Health Service, Wolverine Wellness, Alcohol & Other Drug Prevention -734-763-1320

Parent/Family Communication Program - 734-763-1320

Stay in the Blue: Download the App!

Office of Student Conflict Resolution -734-936-6308

Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) - 734-936-3333 (24-hour crisis line) or 734-764-7771 (non-emergency)

Dean of Students Office - 734-764-7420

University Housing Student Conflict Resolution - 734-647-4718

Division of Public Safety and Security - 911 (emergency), 734-763-1131 (non-emergency) or 734-763-9180 (tip line)

Student Legal Services - 734-763-9920

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) - 734-764-8312

Ann Arbor Police Department  - 911 (emergency) or 734-994-2911 (non-emergency)


University Policy on Alcohol and Other Drug Use

Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities

U-M Student Sexual Misconduct Policy

City of Ann Arbor Ordinances

State of Michigan Laws