The State of Texas takes underage drinking very seriously. Ask anyone under age 21 who has been caught purchasing, attempting to purchase, or wrongfully in the presence of unopened alcohol. Law enforcement officials will be especially strict if you are caught, underage, in a vehicle, whether stopped or in transit, with beer or alcohol. This misdemeanor criminal offense is known as a Minor in Possession (MIP).
A MIP is a Class C criminal misdemeanor in Texas.
You don’t want to ignore a first offense and blow it off. You can be not only fined; you can lose your Texas Driver License. You need to avoid a conviction if possible. In other words, you need an attorney.
Contact Attorney Tad A. Nelson at 713-489-7373 if you’re facing criminal charges for minor in possession violation in Houston. Tad A. Nelson will help you, your parents and/or legal guardians, navigate the juvenile court system. Our legal team will inform you of the options available to protect your reputation and your rights as a minor.
Texas Minor in Possession (MIP) Cases
MIPs cause a lot of headaches for minors and their parents. It’s time consuming to correct, and it carries unexpected pitfalls for the unwary. If you’re under the age of 21 and are caught by a Texas sheriff or the local police, either purchasing, attempting to purchase or in a vehicle where there is alcohol, you can be charged with a Minor in Possession (MIP) criminal misdemeanor.
It doesn’t matter if the beverage(s) aren’t opened, if you are a guest grabbing a ride home, if you have tasted only a sip, or that you are not drunk. Even if the car is fully stopped and you are parked, chatting with your friends, if you are 20 or younger, and are found by law enforcement with unopened beer, hard liquor, or pre-mixed alcoholic beverages, you can face Minor in Possession (MIP) charges. You could also face Minor in Consumption charges if one of the beers is open and you are also in violation of open container laws in the State of Texas.
Texas law enforces strict penalties to discourage minors from drinking or to discourage potential repeat offenders from being in possession of alcohol.
If you are under age 18, and it is your first MIP, you may be fined up to $500.00. Instead of convicting you, the judge may defer that and require participating in an alcohol awareness class and the performance of at least 8 – 12 hours of community service work. The community service work must be related to education about the pitfalls of excessive alcohol consumption and steps to prevent its abuse.
You can also have your driver’s license suspended for thirty days on a first conviction.
If you are over age 18, but under age 21, your driver’s license can be suspended for up to a year.
Second or Third Offenses
Penalties for second or third MIP’s escalate. For a second offense, you face losing your driver’s license for sixty days. The court will most likely increase community service work up to 20-40 hours and mandate additional participation in approved alcohol awareness and/or treatment classes.
A judge may order special additional penalties for third and subsequent convictions. Your fines could jump as high as $2,000.00, and you could face confinement in jail of up to 180 days.
Facing DWI Charges in Houston or Austin?
WE’LL FIGHT FOR CASE DISMISSAL
Criminal Law Board Certified® (in criminal law) DWI Lawyer and ACS/CHAL Lawyer- Scientist Tad Nelson takes your reputation, your future, and your rights as a minor very seriously. We will search for grounds for case dismissal. If we can’t find an impropriety warranting dismissal, we’ll work to get reduced sentencing and for an expunged record.
To ensure you have the best representation to prevent a smear campaign against your minor child, you need Tad Nelson’s smart, competent legal representation. With the assistance of Attorney Ken Dies & Amber Spurlock, you can be assured that we have the experience to justify confidence in our advice and legal defense.
Be sure to contact attorney Tad Nelson, Amber Spurlock, or Ken Dies for your legal representation or another qualified DWI lawyer in Houston so you can, at least, have a chance of leaving the judge with the best possible conclusion to your child’s ordeal. Contact our office at 713-489-7373 or click here to send us a confidential message.