Texas MIP Laws – Minor in Possession
Anyone who is under the age of 21 and found to possess an alcoholic beverage in Texas can be charged with Minor in Possession (MIP). Any minor who is near when alcohol is present can be charged with MIP. It does not matter if the minor did not actually purchase the alcohol. Also, it is irrelevant that the minor did not drink the alcohol.
Criminal Defense Lawyer in Houston, Tx (281) 853-8537.
For example, a minor attending a party or restaurant where alcohol can be accessed can face MIP charges. MIP charges are serious and can cause you serious, long term problems. You could be hit with expensive fines, loss of your driver’s license, and even jail time in the worst case. An MIP conviction also will show on your criminal record, so it can damage your ability to get a job or attend college.
That is why it is important to retain a defense attorney to fight the MIP charge.
What is the MIP Law in Texas?
It is an offense if a minor under the age of 21 is in possession of an alcoholic beverage. MIP is a class C misdemeanor. However, it is not an offense for a minor to possess alcohol in these circumstances:
- In the scope of employment, if the minor is licensee’s employee, as long as the employment is legal in the state of Texas
- If the minor is in the visible presence of his parent, spouse or guardian
- If the minor is being immediately supervised by a commissioned peace officer who is engaged in enforcing the Alcohol and Beverage Code
Punishments for MIP
Minor in Possession is a class C misdemeanor that may be punished by a maximum $500 fine. If the minor has had two convictions, the fine may be up to $2000. The minor also can be confined to jail for up to six months.
The court also may order community service for the violator. It will consist of at least eight hours but not more than 12 hours for a first offense. If the minor committed an MIP violation before, the court may order community service for at least 20 hours but not more than 40 hours.
If the minor violator has a driver’s license, it can be suspended for 30 days. If the minor does not yet possess a license, the court can order that the issuance of the license be delayed 30 days. If the minor had another conviction for MIP and has a driver’s license, the court may order a 180 day suspension.
Note: If the minor has received a deferred disposition on an earlier MIP charge, that will be considered a previous conviction.
Requests for Deferred Adjudication or Community Supervision
If you enter into a plea, it is possible you can be granted deferred adjudication. This means you receive probation for a period of time of up to six months. The court will require that certain requirements are met during this period. These can include community service and an alcohol awareness class. If the requirements are completed with success, the MIP charge may be dismissed. But the MIP stays on your criminal record until you successfully have the record expunged.
Often times a divorce and family law expert with will work together with a criminal law expert on these kind of cases. It is not uncommon for other attorneys to refer these cases to us. A criminal defense attorney may be able to introduce reasonable doubt into an MIP charge case. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you possessed, owned or controlled an alcoholic beverage. Just because you attended a party with alcohol and got charged with MIP does not necessarily mean you are guilty. There are gray areas in some situations and a defense attorney may be able to take advantage of them to your benefit.
Contact a Defense Attorney Today
Having an MIP conviction on your criminal record is not a good way to start your adult life. The consequences are serious. To minimize the damage, contact an MIP defense attorney today. We offer a complimentary case review so we can determine if the charge can be successfully fought. Call (281) 853-8537.
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