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What is an MIP and is it serious?

Many people think that crimes committed by minors do not carry very serious consequences. The reality of the situation is that many states have very strict laws, especially concerning minor in possession (MIP) charges. In fact, an underage individual may be arrested even if he or she appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Missouri.

Consequences for a MIP conviction can be serious. College students that are underage and caught with alcohol can face consequences both in a criminal court and with their schools as well.

Minor in possession laws

MIP laws exist for multiple reasons. Of primary concern is educating underage individuals about the dangers and risks associated with drinking and driving. The criminal system for MIP convictions also provides help for chemical and alcohol dependency problems.

Serious consequences

A first time offender will often receive a moderate punishment. However, additional convictions will lead to more severe consequences. If convicted, penalties may include:

  • Driver's license suspension
  • Court fines and administrative fees
  • Community service
  • Completion of a substance abuse education program

Common defenses

There are a number of defenses available to use when arguing against MIP charges, such as:

  • The container the minor was drinking out of did not actually contain any alcohol. However, it is up to the defendant to prove that the beverage was nonalcoholic.
  • The minor consumed the alcohol legally. For example, wine may have been consumed while participating in a religious service.

If your child has been charged with an MIP, it is important to know that he or she still has rights and options. Obtain legal help, and defend yourself or your child from minor in possession charges.

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