A common charge for many high school and college students is a Minor In Possession (commonly referred to as M.I.P) charge. These charges can sometimes be expunged off of permanent records, but can still be quite the process to deal with. Most importantly: what constitutes a Minor In Possession?
A Minor In Possession means:
A person under the age of twenty one years old has been given a citation by a police officer or Texas Alcohol and Beverage Control Officer for being illegally in possession, ownership, or control of an alcoholic beverage.
Minors put themselves at risk of receiving one of these citations every time they choose to attend a party, go to a nightclub or bar, or are in a vehicle that alcohol is present (even if it is not theirs).
To Avoid Receiving This Citation a Minor Cannot:
touch an alcoholic beverage
hold an alcoholic beverage
transport any alcoholic beverage
attempt to purchase alcoholic beverages
consume or have contact with any alcoholic beverages
The above are sure ways for a minor to receive a MIP charge. However, there are other ways to receive the charge as well. This type of possession is referred to as Constructive Possession.
Constructive Possession Can Be:
A minor is standing at or near a table in which alcoholic beverages or cans are present
A minor is cleaning up empty alcoholic beverage cups or cans, for someone who is over the age of 21
A minor merely holds an alcoholic beverage for an older friend to put on a jacket or grab a purse
A minor uses an empty alcoholic beverage container for something other than drinking, ex: spitting into the can, etc.
A minor helping to carry grocery bags for an older friend in which alcoholic beverages are present
If a Minor In Possession citation is received in the state of Texas, it is considered to be a Class C Misdemeanor and a fine up to, but not exceeding, $500 will be added. Sometimes, judges allow a deal to be made between the offender and the court, in place of a conviction. In this case, a judge may add community service hours that can range from 8 to 40 hours (the number depending on the number of previous offenses and severity of the case), require alcohol education and abuse courses be taken, and possibly reduce fines for the citation holder. If the citation is given while a minor is driving or in possession of the keys to a vehicle in which alcohol is present, the citation holder possibly may have their license suspended from between 30 to 180 days. Previous convictions or charges may lead to increased punishment or added consequences.
In order to receive maximum legal help in the case of a Minor In Possession citation, hiring a lawyer experienced in this type of citation is encouraged. The Law Office of Gregory R. Terra is such an attorney that can help in a situation such as this. His office is located in Georgetown, Texas and can be reached at 512-635-4368 or contact can be made through his website. If you have any questions regarding M.I.P citations or any other legal matters in criminal defense, feel free to contact the office to set up a free consultation.