What Is a MIP Charge?
In the state of Colorado, a minor in possession of alcohol, or MIP, is a criminal offense that refers to any individual under the age of 21 who possesses or consumes alcohol.
“Possession” of alcohol means a person:
- Has or holds any amount of alcohol anywhere on their person
- Owns or has custody of alcohol
- Has alcohol within their immediate presence and control
Evidence may include that the minor possessed/consumed alcohol or manifested characteristics of intoxication/impairment. Characteristics include the smell of alcohol on the minor’s breath, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, etc.
Those convicted of a MIP charge could face penalties including costly fines, mandatory alcohol treatment programs, and driver’s license suspension.
How Our Minor in Possession Lawyers Can Help You
The Gasper Law Group offers experienced and aggressive defense for MIP charges, underage DUIs, and all alcohol-related offenses, including:
- Minor in possession of alcohol (MIP)
- Minor in consumption of alcohol (MIC)
- Drunk in public
- Underage DUI/DWAI
- Driving after suspension for DUI
- Contributing to the delinquency of a minor (furnishing alcohol)
There are some circumstances in which the law allows an underage person to consume alcohol in Colorado. Affirmative defenses to a MIP/MIC of alcohol include:
- The alcohol was possessed or consumed on private property with permission from the owner and their parent or guardian
- The alcohol is consumed as a confectionery, within limits
- The substance consumed wasn’t designed for ingestion
- The substance consumed was for medicinal or hygienic purposes
- The beverage ingested had less than .5% of alcohol
- The substance consumed was consumed in a class, under the supervision of an instructor
If you have been charged with underage drinking, especially a drunk driving offense, you need smart and aggressive advocacy. As former prosecutors, our MIP attorneys have a strong understanding of the law and can utilize these defenses to your advantage. We represent clients in El Paso County, Teller County, Pueblo County, Douglas County, Fremont County, and most of southern Colorado. Our clients have included Air Force Academy cadets and other military personnel. Contact us immediately for a free case evaluation.
Minors charged with their first MIP offense are at the mercy of the city attorney and the courts. A MIP charge is punishable by a fine of up to $250 for a first conviction. First-time offenders could have their driver’s license revoked for up to three months, though this is generally only if they do not attend a court-ordered assessment or complete court-ordered community service hours.
The court takes repeat MIP violations very seriously and the penalties for these minors tend to be more strictly enforced. In addition to community service, an alcohol assessment, and an alcohol education or treatment program (all at the defendant’s expense), the penalty for a second MIP conviction is $500 and the revocation will be for six months. Third and subsequent convictions are jailable Class 2 Misdemeanors and also result in one-year revocation. To reinstate your driver’s license, you must pay a reinstatement fee and retake both the written and driving tests.
Our MIP lawyers fight to mitigate any criminal consequences (jail, fines) and fight to keep your driving privileges.
Experienced Underage DUI Lawyers
Colorado’s underage drinking and driving laws reflect the state’s “zero tolerance” policy. You face the same criminal penalties as an adult of legal drinking age – and the administrative license sanctions are more severe. Colorado’s drunk driving law sets a blood-alcohol content threshold of .02 BAC for drivers under 21. This means you can be penalized for having any alcohol in your bloodstream at the time of arrest. A first offense (also called “baby DUI”) can result in serious penalties including a three-month driver’s license suspension. Depending on your measured intoxication level, you may also face criminal charges of DWAI (.05 BAC) or DUI (.08 BAC).
Criminal charges can make seeking employment more difficult for the minor in the future. In addition to having serious consequences on a young person’s future, MIP charges can also cause a great deal of stress for family members who will have to help the minor with getting to work, school, or military duty every day. We understand that your ability to drive is very important in your daily life. If you have been cited for an underage DUI/DWAI, our attorneys will fight your license suspension. You must request a DMV hearing within seven days of the citation or arrest to challenge the suspension or qualify for a “red license” (restricted driving permit).
Read our DUI Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
Contact Our Colorado Springs MIP Lawyers
Regardless of the severity of the offense, it is always best for minors and their parents to hire a skilled Colorado Springs MIP defense attorney to advise them on how to proceed and work to preserve their constitutional rights. Experienced legal counsel may be able to help minimize the charges so you can move past the legal issues with little to no effect on your future. If you are convicted of MIP, you may be able to have your record sealed one year after the conviction, if you have not been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of any crime during that year.
If you or your child are facing minor in possession, underage DUI, or other alcohol-related charges, contact The Gasper Law Group today. Our criminal defense lawyers in Colorado Springs have the knowledge, skills, and resources you want for your defense.