What used to be consider a minor “slap on the wrist” offense has escalated in Texas and Dallas, Fort Worth Area as Texas lawmakers have increased the penalties for underage drinking, drug consumption and minor in possession. Anyone who is under the age of 21 and possesses alcohol in the United States, with the exception of special circumstances, is violating the law of Texas. If sufficient evidence is shown to a police office that the person under 21 has been drinking alcohol or is in possession of alcohol, an MIP may be issued to the underage drinker.
What does Minor in Possession or MIP mean?
A charge of Minor in Possession (MIP) means that someone under the age of 21 years was given a citation by a police officer or Texas Alcohol Beverage Control Officer for being illegally in possession, ownership, or control of an alcoholic beverage. However there are parts of this that are not so cut and dry. The most basic elements of this charge, which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt – the person charged were in fact in possession, ownership, or control of an alcoholic beverage.
What Minors Need to Understand about MIPs
Possession of an alcoholic or illegal substance can be construed by location and what we call “constructive possession”. Some examples of constructive possession can include:
- When a minor is in a car and alcohol is present and readily available to that minor
- When a minor is at a table and alcohol is present and available. For example sitting at a table and there is a pitcher of beer and cups.
- Using a beer bottle/can as a spittoon
- A minor is carrying a bag/groceries that include alcohol
In short, a minor can be in close proximity to alcohol which belongs to another person, but cannot touch, hold in his/her hand, transport, attempt to purchase, consume, or have any contact with it.
Call a Dallas youth offender attorney
In some cases the “mistakes of youth” can have a far-reaching effect on a young adult’s life. Conviction of crime can prevent a student’s admission to a college or stand in the way of a good job opportunity. If you or your child has been cited for a minor offense or an alcohol-related first offense, do not pay the fine without consulting an attorney. Paying a fine is an admission of guilt and is equivalent to a conviction in a court of law. What might seem like the right thing to do could create future complications for a student or young adult.
If you need effective representation in a Texas criminal law matter, a skilled defense attorney can make a difference. Contact Dallas youth offender lawyers, JudinLaw.