Minor In Possession (MIP)
In college towns, such as Athens, underage drinking is not uncommon. However, the police aggressively enforce underage alcohol possession laws that include issuing citations as well as making arrests of individuals charged with Minor In Possession (MIP) when combined with another crime. Having only one drink at a party can have serious consequences. If you are caught driving it can result in a DUI arrest. If you’re a college student, you may also face additional punishment from the school.Underage Drinking Laws and Penalties
The State of Georgia has Underage Possession of Alcohol (minor in possession (MIP)) laws to prevent people under the age of 21 from consuming or possessing alcoholic beverages. The term “Minor in Possession” is a misnomer since Georgians age 18-20 are not minors. After passage in 1984 of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act (23 U.S.C.A. § 158), states raised their minimum drinking age to 21 to prevent lowering the amount of highway funds they received under the Federal Highway Act.
The law prohibits minors from purchasing, attempting to purchase, or knowingly possessing alcoholic beverages. It is also unlawful for minors to use a fake id for the purpose of obtaining alcohol illegally.What are the Penalties for Minor in Possession (MIP)? First Offense
- A fine of up to $300
- Sentenced up to six months in jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Sentenced up to 12 months in jail
According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 3-3-23, offenders may also be required to complete a drug or alcohol educational program within 120 days of their conviction which failure to complete the program, could result in a finding of contempt of court which can be punished by a fine of up to $300 and/or 20 days in jail.
This law does not apply to minors possessing or consuming alcohol in the home when the alcohol is provided by and the minor is supervised by a parent or guardian who is present.Is it Illegal to Purchase Alcohol for Minors?
It is against the law for anyone to knowingly purchase alcoholic beverages for any person under the age of 21. The penalties include the following:
- You may be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $5,000
- You may be sentenced up to 12 months in jail
Underage Possession of Alcohol is a misdemeanor offense, that depending on what section of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 3-3-23 a person is alleged to have violated may be punished up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of not more than $5,000.Does Minor in Possession Stay on Your Record?
Beginning on July 1, 2015 police officers were to issue citations for a person charged with Underage Possession of Alcohol in lieu of making an arrest of that individual. However, if the person is charged with another offense or “is intoxicated to the extent that he or she poses a danger to himself or herself or to the person or property of another,” than that person can be arrested. (O.C.G.A. §3-3-23.1(d)(2)). Whether the charge appears on a person’s criminal history will depend on whether the person is issued a citation or was arrested for the offense of Underage Possession of Alcohol.Do You Need a Lawyer for an MIP?
It is important to have a lawyer that is familiar with underage drinking laws and who has experience fighting minor in possession (MIP) charges.Who Is the Best Athens GA Minor In Possession Lawyer?
Jason Slider is a former prosecutor with the Athens-Clarke County Office of the Solicitor General and now uses that experience as a criminal defense attorney. He understands the law and has experience handling MIP cases in and around Athens. If you or your child is charged with Minor in Possession (MIP), it is important for you to know your options and how you can minimize or eliminate the consequences of this criminal charge. We will fight for your rights in the courtroom.Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation
Call 706-208-1514. Our office hours are 8:00-5:00, Monday through Friday. We’re conveniently located near the University of Georgia in downtown Athens across the street from the Athens-Clarke County courthouse.