Mississippi Minor in Possession of Alcohol Defense Lawyers
According to Mississippi law, it is illegal for a person who has not reached the age of 21 to be in possession of an alcoholic beverage, including beer, wine, mixed drinks, and hard liquor. A conviction for an alcohol-related offense can have serious and lasting consequences. And the younger you are, the longer that conviction will be a factor in your life.
If you are a juvenile, a college student, or the parent of a minor in trouble for underage possession of alcohol, you need the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney. At Tannehill, Carmean, & McKenzie, we put our resources and skills to work on behalf of our clients. Contact our Oxford office today to schedule a free consultation.
Minor in Possession (MIP) of Alcohol in Mississippi
In Mississippi, persons under the age of 21 found to be in possession of alcohol can be charged with a misdemeanor. This applies to any alcoholic beverage in any public place. Possession can refer to both actual possession and constructive possession.
If you are holding an alcoholic beverage in your hand or have something contained in a bag or backpack attached to your body, the prosecutor can claim that you actually possessed the alcohol. But you can also be charged with MIP if the alcohol was in a place that was under your control if the prosecutor can allege that you knew of its presence. This might include a school locker or vehicle registered in your name.
Exceptions to the Minor in Possession Law
Mississippi is different from many other states in that it has some exceptions to its MIP laws for alcohol possession. Specifically, a person between the ages of 18 to 21 may consume beer (no wine or liquor) as long as they are in the presence of a parent or guardian. Also, U.S. military personnel over the age of 18 are permitted to possess and consume beer on military installations wherever authorized.
There are several other exceptions to the MIP laws. According to Mississippi law, a minor is permitted to:
- Stock alcoholic beverages in the course of business
- Bag and handle purchased alcohol in the course of business
- Clear tables of glasses containing alcohol
- A waitress or waiter between the ages of 18 and 21 can also deliver alcoholic beverages as part of their job, but they may not mix drinks or otherwise act as a bartender.
Penalties for Possession of Alcohol by a Person Under the Age of 21
If you are charged with minor in possession of alcohol, you can face some significant penalties. If convicted, you may have to pay up to $500 in fines, have your license suspended for 90 days, and serve up to 30 days of community service. This is in addition to any penalties that a university or high school might impose.
Depending on the circumstances, you might be arrested for MIP and taken to jail. In some cases, however, you might just get a formal notice to appear from the authorities. If you fail to appear in court, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Further, even just a citation is notice that you are being charged with a crime that has potential penalties.
You certainly don’t want to ignore a notice to appear in the hopes that it will just go away. It won’t. But a skilled attorney can fight to get those charges dropped.
Underage Alcohol Purchases and Possession of a Fake I.D.
Mississippi law is clear on the allowable age for purchasing alcohol. The state does not permit the sale of alcohol to anyone under the age of 21. A business or person who violates this law can be charged with a misdemeanor subject to a maximum fine of $1,000 for a first offense.
The underage person buying the alcohol can also be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $500 if convicted. They can also lose their driving privileges for up to 90 days.
It might be tempting for young people to try to skirt the system with a fake I.D. It has been happening for generations, but it’s still illegal. In fact, hundreds of university students are arrested each year for possession of a fake ID.
It’s important to understand that possession of fake ID alone is illegal. You don’t even have to use it to buy alcohol or get into a bar. It’s a misdemeanor, and the penalties include fines of up to $500 and up to 30 days in jail.
Attorney in Oxford for Minor in Possession of Alcohol Charges
In many cases, Oxford law enforcement officers will target college students or young people attending a sporting event or concert. The officers might conduct sting operations in restaurants, nightclubs, and bards. Our firm is familiar with these tactics and knows the best ways to pursue a complete dismissal of the charges.
We are also experienced with representing college and high school students charged with underage possession of alcohol and related charges for disorderly conduct, possession of a fake I.D., and public intoxication. We not only represent clients in criminal court but can also represent the interests of a University of Mississippi student in front of the Judicial Council if there is a related hearing.
Out of State Assistance for University of Mississippi Students
In addition to helping clients located in the Oxford area, we are also able to represent students whose parents live out-of-state. If your child is facing charges in Mississippi, you need a local criminal defense attorney to protect your child’s interests and future. We stay in close contact with our clients in person as well as through various electronic means for frequent case updates.
Contact An Experienced Alcohol Defense Attorney
The last thing you want to do is ignore a criminal charge that could have consequences for years to come. It’s not going to disappear, but you have the opportunity to take a proactive approach to your defense.
At Tannehill, Carmean, & McKenzie, we aggressively fight for justice and the rights of our clients. Whether you have been charged with underage possession of alcohol or some other related offense, we may be able to present defenses that will get your charges reduced or even dropped. Call our Oxford, MS office today at (662) 200-8731 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation so that we can discuss your options.