Austin Minor in Possession (MIP) of Alcohol Cases
The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski
If you’re a minor or the parent of a minor who was charged with “minor in possession” of alcohol or an illegal drug in the state of Texas, those charges, if convicted, can trigger unexpected outcomes.
If the case reaches the Texas criminal courts and a conviction occurs, it will ultimately affect the life of the minor in more ways than one.
A criminal record can derail an intended career in law, politics, education or even the medical industry.
For example, if they attempt to enroll in college for these majors, it can be challenging to get into specific programs and even cause a denial of federal or state student loans and grants.
Statistics: Student Turnover & Criminal Charges
More than 200,000+ college students have lost their federal financial aid eligibility because of possession of drugs according to the official website, “Drug War Facts.”
Jackson F. Gorski is a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney that’s based in Austin, TX. With The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski on your side, you’ll have legal representation from a counselor who knows how to counter Travis County prosecutors and their attempts at securing convictions.
If you’re under 18 years old or the parent of a minor or college student, and are dealing with criminal charges related to alcohol, marijuana, pills, or any other type of illegal substance or drug, call The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski at 512-960-4646 or message us for help.
(MIP) Minor In Possession of Alcohol & Texas Law
Texas Penal Code dictates that “A minor in Texas may not buy, possess, or consume alcohol; or knowingly provide false information to obtain alcohol.”
“It is also illegal for adults to purchase alcohol for, sell to, or otherwise provide alcohol to minors.”
It’s considered MIP when a minor carries alcohol or another controlled substance on their physical body, unknowingly or intentionally, such as in a purse, wallet, backpack, or in their pockets. If police officers feel that they smell marijuana or alcohol on the juvenile, they’ll have probable cause to search and potentially make an arrest if a controlled substance is found.
Austin criminal defense lawyer Jackson F. Gorski will represent the defendant and ensure their Constitutional Rights were not violated. If their Constitutional protection from unlawful search and seizure was violated, Travis County and/or the State of Texas will have to drop the charges. If the defendant didn’t know such evidence was on them, it could be a determining factor if we decide to take the case to trial.
With that said, MIP cases are usually filed in a municipal court or a JP or justice of the peace court. These courts only have jurisdiction over Class C Misdemeanors which are relatively easy to handle as long as the defendant has no prior criminal history.
If you need to talk with an Austin criminal defense lawyer that’s experienced with cases like these, I’m always happy to meet with my clients to discuss how I would handle their case. If you’re interested in learning more about your defense options, I invite you to call me at 512-960-4646 or send a message to me online.
Purchase, Consumption, or Possession of Alcohol by a Minor
Per Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, consumption, possession, or purchase of alcohol by a minor is punishable under Class C misdemeanor guidelines which is punishable by a fine of up to $500.00.
If the person was previously convicted for an alcohol-related offense, they’re punishable by a fine of not less than $250 or more than $2000 and the following;
- confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days; or both the fine and confinement;
- community service of 8 to 40 hours;
- suspension of Texas Driver’s License or permit for 30 to 180 days and attendance at an alcohol awareness program.
Quick Scenario #1
A minor can still be charged with MIP charge and that’s under the “constructive possession” of alcohol, for instance. Also, if a minor is holding his friend’s beer because the “friend is trying to look for his keys to his car,” then that will be a cause of an MIP if he’s caught by a police officer.
Quick Scenario #2
If the minor chews tobacco and uses a beer can for his “spittoon,” then again, the minor can be given a MIP charge. One of the most common cases is when a minor is with others at a restaurant and everyone at the table is drinking and there’s empty cups and bottles everywhere on the table. The minor can be charged with MIP.
Exceptions to MIP Restrictions
There are four exceptions that allow minors to be in possession of alcohol in Texas.
If a minor has to work around alcohol this is a form of work related possession. It’s not illegal for the minor to possess due to professional reasons, and the minor doesn’t consume it. It’s legal for a minor to possess alcohol when under 21 if he/she is serving it in a role as a bartender, waiter or waitress, store clerk or a store clerk with a TABC license.
If a minor is married to an adult spouse, or the legal guardian is with the minor, he/she may possess or consume alcohol as long as the visible presence of the minor’s parent, legal guardian, or adult spouse is there on-site.
If a peace officer is engaging a minor to purchase the alcohol as a “sting operation,” then this is an exception to the MIP law. The peace officer must be the supervising this action though, outside or near the minor.
Emergency Medical Assistance
Possession offenses can be avoided if and when the minor requests emergency medical assistance for someone with a possible alcohol overdose. Although, to qualify for this protection, the minor must have been the first person to call 911 for help and remain at that scene until medical help arrived. He/she must also fully cooperate with medical and law enforcement personnel.
Many MIP charges are dismissed or dropped because of certain criteria that altered the nature of the case.
Dealing with MIP Charges in Austin?
Call Attorney Jackson F. Gorski at 512-960-4646
If you need an experienced juvenile defense lawyer in Austin, TX, Travis County, or the surrounding area, call me at 512-960-4646. I’ll guide you through every legal proceeding and educate you on the processes involved so you don’t have to go through it alone or without a thorough understanding of the process.
If you’ve been arrested or think you’re the subject of a criminal investigation in the Austin area, call 512-960-4646 for help. If you have a loved one that’s in the custody of law enforcement we also offer Austin & Travis County jail release services which is more convenient, cheaper, and more affordable than traditional bail-bonds agencies.
With me as your lawyer, you’ll be guaranteed a fair trial, Constitutional protection with regard to legal proceedings & evidence, and representation by a lawyer who knows how to get things done.