Defense Against Underage Drinking Charges
Minor in Possession, Minor in Consumption, and Public Intoxication
At Douglas W. Atkinson, Attorney at Law, the Conroe criminal defense lawyer provides experienced defense to individuals in all walks of life, including those who are under the age of 21.
It is imperative to hire an experienced Conroe criminal defense attorney to fight the charge against you or your child. Juveniles in possession of alcohol can experience severe penalties such as:
- Expensive fines
- Loss of driver's license privileges
Further, a conviction for minor in possession or another related crime will appear on your criminal record. In today’s competitive market, even an MIP can affect job and education opportunities.
Call a Conroe criminal defense lawyer at the Douglas W. Atkinson, Attorney at Law to fight your MIP and protect your rights. Don’t let a situation in your youth affect the rest of your life.
The Law for Juvenile Cases in Texas
If you are under 21 years of age and found in possession of an alcoholic beverage you may be charged with Minor in Possession (MIP). Anytime a minor is near where alcohol is present, they risk being charged with MIP. 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.
The minor in possession law is found in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
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 permittee 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.
Punishment for Minor in Possession of Alcohol
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 minor’s first offense. If it is a subsequent offense, the court may or may not order the attendance at such a class.
Driver’s License Suspension:
If the minor has a driver’s 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 driver’s license be denied for 30 days.
If the minor has a driver’s 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 minor’s driver’s license.
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.
PI Charges in Texas
In the state of Texas, public intoxication (PI) occurs when a person is found in the public place and intoxicated to a point that they may be endangered, or they may endanger another person. Under Texas law, Penal Code Ann. § 49.02, PI is charged as a misdemeanor.
If you enter into a plea you may be granted a deferred disposition. 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 MIP will be dismissed. However, the conviction will remain on your criminal record unless you petition the court to have the record expunged and qualify under Texas law.
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