What is Minor in Possession (MIP)
If you are under 21 years of age and found in possession of an alcoholic beverage you may be charged with Minor in Possession or M.I.P. Anytime a minor is near where alcohol is present, they risk being charged with M.I.P. It is irrelevant that the minor did not purchase or own the alcohol. Further it does not matter that the minor did not consume the alcohol. For example, a minor who is at a party, restaurant, club, or in a car where alcohol is accessible and in their possession may face M.I.P. charges.
It is imperative to hire an experience attorney to fight the M.I.P. charge against you or your child. M.I.P. may sound harmless, but it actually carries with it severe penalties such as expensive fines, loss of drivers license privileges, and even the possibility of jail time. Further, a conviction for M.I.P. will appear on your criminal record. In today’s competitive market, even an M.I.P. can affect job and education opportunities.
What is the Law on MIP?
A minor commits an offense if he possesses an alcoholic beverage. Minor in Possession is a Class C Misdemeanor. It is not an offense for a minor to possess an alcoholic beverage:
while in the course and scope of the minor’s employment if the minor is an employee of a licensee or permitted and the employment is not prohibited by Texas law; or
if the minor is in the visible presence of his or her adult parent, guardian, or spouse, or other adult to whom the minor has been committed by a court; or
if the minor is under the immediate supervision of a commissioned peace officer engaged in enforcing the provisions of the Alcohol and Beverage Code.
What is the Typical Punishment for MIP?
M.I.P. is a class C misdemeanor punishable up to a $500 fine. If the minor has two prior convictions the fine increases up to $2,000 and confinement in jail for up to 180 days.
The court will order community service for not less than 8 hours or more than 12 hours for a first offense. If the minor has a previous conviction, the court will order community service for not less than 20 hours or more that 40 hours.
The court will order the minor to take an alcohol awareness class if it is the minors first offense. If it is a subsequent offense, the court may or may not order the attendance at such a class.
Drivers License Suspension:
If the minor has a drivers license the court may order the Texas Department of Public Safety to suspend the license for 30 days. If the minor does not yet have a license, the court may order that the issuance of a drivers license be denied for 30 days.
If the minor has a drivers license and a prior conviction for M.I.P., the court will likely order a 60 day suspension. If the minor has two prior convictions, the court will likely order a 6 month suspension of the minors drivers license.
Deferred Adjudication/Community Supervision:
If a minor received a deferred disposition on a previous M.I.P. charge that is considered a prior conviction for the purposes of this statute.
Can I request Deferred Adjudication/Community Supervision?
If you enter into a plea you may be granted a deferred adjudication. This means that you will be on probation for a set period of time not to exceed 180 days. The court will assign certain requirements be met during the deferral period including, but not limited to community service and alcohol awareness class attendance. If you successfully complete the requirements during the deferral period the M.I.P. will be dismissed. However, the M.I.P. will remain on your criminal record unless you petition the court to have the record expunged and qualify under Texas law.