Minor in Possession Defense
Lawyer in Atlanta Cobb County Lawyer for Minor & Under-Age Alcohol Charges
When a person who is under the age of 21 is arrested with alcohol, they are cited with a Minor in Possession (MIP) charge. People who are unfamiliar with the possible penalties related to a Minor in Possession charge might think “kids will be kids” and assume it’s not a big deal. While having a drink before your 21st birthday might not seem like a big deal, when the police get involved, it is certainly a big deal.
Phyllis has extensive experience getting great results in Minor in Possession Cases. Video & phone consultations available.
Minor in Possession is an Easy Crime to be Charged With
The laws around underage drinking are strong and can be enforced quite aggressively. There are countless situations where a person under 21 (especially in or around a university campus) might engage in drinking. In a great majority of those situations, a police officer would simply tell them to go home. However, a person can be charged with Minor in Possession in a number of problematic circumstances:
- Police Officers Can Charge MIP Very Aggressively
Someone typically made one or two bad decisions to be in a situation where they were charged as a minor in possession. You might have been at a party where underage drinking was happening, or been with a group where some of the people were drinking and everyone got charged. There are countless additional charges (noise violations, possession of a small amount of marijunana, illegal alcohol sales, providing alcohol to someone under 21) that can come from a party situation. Having a lawyer can help you ensure your side of the story is told.
- Police Officers Do Not Need Physical Evidence to Arrest You for MIP
While the very word “possession” would suggest that some physical evidence was needed, a police officer simply testifying that the smell of alcohol was detected can be enough for a Minor in Possession charge. In cases like this it’s essential to have an attorney on your side.
- Prosecutors Can Pursue MIP & Related Charges Aggressively
Because a person is considered a minor when they are under 18, but the legal drinking age is 21 a number of problems can arise in a mixed-age crowd. For example, a 17 year old drinking with an 18 year old could result in that 18 year old being charged both for underage possession as well as providing alcohol to a minor.
Consequences for Minor in Possession Charge in Georgia
The penalties for a minor in possession of alcohol in Georgia is a misdemeanor charge. For the first conviction you will see a fine of up to $300, jail time of up to six months (this is very uncommon). The penalties can be minimized and in some cases avoided in exchange for the minor engaging in community service, a drug and alcohol evaluation or combination of other alternatives.
- If a car was involved, an Underage DUI or other charges may be involved.
- If a license was used to attempt to purchase alcohol, the license can be suspended.
- If the alcohol was found in a car, even if no one was drinking, your driver’s license can be suspended.
Minors Attempting to Purchase Alcohol
Another legal trap where a minor can get in trouble without even having possessed alcohol is a minor attempting to purchase alcohol. This is against the law whether or not the person under 21 attempting to purchase shows a fake ID (which is another chargeable offense) or not. A frustrated store owner may choose to call the police for a minor simply attempting a purchase.
Minor in Possession in Georgia
The law(s) addressing a minor in possession of alcohol or attempting to purchase alcohol are as follows:
O.C.G.A. §3-3-23 states: Except as otherwise authorized by law:
- No person knowingly, directly or through another person, shall furnish, cause to be furnished, or permit any person in such person's employ to furnish any alcoholic beverage to any person under 21 years of age;
- No person under 21 years of age shall purchase, attempt to purchase, or knowingly possess any alcoholic beverage;
- No person under 21 years of age shall misrepresent such person's age in any manner whatever for the purpose of obtaining illegally any alcoholic beverage;
- No person knowingly or intentionally shall act as an agent to purchase or acquire any alcoholic beverage for or on behalf of a person under 21 years of age; or
- No person under 21 years of age shall misrepresent his or her identity or use any false identification for the purpose of purchasing or obtaining any alcoholic beverage.
Contact Phyllis for a Consultation to Work Towards Resolving Your MIP Charge
Phyllis Gingrey Collins is an experienced and effective attorney focused on juvenile defense law. She works to understand the background and potential of young people facing a crossroads after a criminal charge. To learn more about how Phyllis can help you resolve your Minor in Possession charge and get your life back on track, contact us for a consultation.