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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. Excessive alcohol use is a major national public health issue on college campuses. Behaviors related to alcohol and other drug use 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 civil infraction or 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 a civil infraction or 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 spaces.

A person caught urinating in public may be charged with indecent exposure.



It is illegal to serve 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 prescribed drugs contrary to the prescription, and give or sell prescribed drugs to another person.Mis-using prescription drugs can result in conviction with jail time. 


It is illegal to possess marijuana.

Possession of marijuana on U-M property is a misdemeanor with the consequences of fines and possible jail time.

Possession of marijuana in the City of Ann Arbor (but not on U-M property) is a civil infraction with a fine.

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act of 2008 conflicts with federal laws, so the use, possession or cultivation of marijuana continues to violate U-M policies and is prohibited on U-M property.

Smoke-Free CampusSmoke-Free Campus:

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



Parent/Family CommunicationAssault, Battery and Criminal Sexual Conduct:

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:

Because 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 a violation of university policy to vomit, fight, urinate, defecate or engage in any behavior (yelling, jumping or throwing objects) in a university bus, passenger van or other vehicle which interferes with the safe operation of the vehicle or the safe enjoyment of the other passengers in the vehicle.

It is illegal to be intoxicated in a public place and endanger the safety of another person and/or damage property.


Police officers from 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 boost enforcement on weekends that have been associated with increased activity. This increase is often before and after major athletic events, and at the beginning and the end of the school year.

Medical personnel will not call the police when an underage drinker is at the hospital. However, if DPSS or Ann Arbor police are involved, an MIP can be issued.

Medical AmnestyMedical Amnesty:

People under 21 will be exempt from prosecution if they voluntarily present themselves or initiate contact with law enforcement or medical services for the purpose of obtaining medical assistance for an alcohol or prescription drug overdose. 

This law also provides amnesty from prosecution for alcohol possession or consumption for minors who report experiencing criminal sexual misconduct, or assist those who report experiencing such misconduct.

For more information, see Medical Amnesty.

Fake IDFake IDs:

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



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

U-M Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, Wolverine Wellness -734-615-7694

Communication with Parents/Family regarding Alcohol and Other Drug Harm

Dean of Students Office - 734-764-7420

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)

University Housing Student Conflict Resolution - 734-647-4718

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

Stay in the Blue: Download the App!

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)


U-M Alcohol and Other Drug Policy for Students, Faculty and Staff

Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities

U-M Student Sexual Misconduct Policy

City of Ann Arbor Ordinances

State of Michigan Laws