Fort Worth Attorney for MIP Tickets | Minor in Possession or Consumption of Alcohol

The Texas Minor in Possession (MIP) Law

Cup of alcohol at a party with minors

An MIP charge occurs when a police or Texas Alcohol Beverage Control officer arrests or, more often, releases on citation to appear in court a person less than 21 years old for “possess[ing] an alcoholic beverage.” [1]In Texas, minors may be in proximity to alcohol but may not have any contact with it.

Possession need not be actual but may be constructive. Examples of constructive possession in Texas case law:

  • A minor in an automobile with alcohol readily accessible to all occupants.
  • A minor at a table with several people drinking from a pitcher,
  • A minor holding a friend’s beer, or
  • A minor carrying a grocery bag containing alcohol.

The Texas Minor in Consumption (MIC) Law

“A minor commits an offense if he consumes an alcoholic beverage.” [2] An officer need not see the actual consumption but may make the charge on circumstantial evidence, behavior indicating intoxication, the odor of alcohol, or an incriminating breath test as examples. The minor’s mere possession of alcohol, an offense in itself, is not enough for an inference of consumption as well without additional direct or circumstantial evidence. An affirmative defense is consumption in the visible presence of an adult parent, guardian, or spouse.

Dealing with MIP or MIC Enforcement Officers

The Fifth Amendment guarantees offending minors the right to remain silent and say nothing at all, and this strategy always beats expressions of resentment, indignation, or especially threats of retaliation. But courtesy, cooperation and respect work best for an eventual deferred adjudication, [3] dismissal, or, best of all, release without citation or arrest if the officer senses sincerity and good faith.

Minors never should lie to a police officer, just keep respectfully quiet or respond politely to statements and requests not related to the offense. If they refrain from confrontation and ask politely to exercise the right to silence, they do much better than when they complain of mistreatment.

Penalties for MIC and MIP

Fines for first offenders may be up to $500.00, for offenders with two prior convictions not less than $250.00 nor more than $2,000.00 or jail time of up to six months. All offenders must perform eight to twelve hours of community service, 20 to 40 hours for repeat offenders. Suspension of driving privileges is mandatory for 30 days for first offenders, 60 for second offenders, and 180 for offenders with more than two prior convictions. An order of deferred adjudication for a prior offense counts as a conviction. [4]

Should minors in MIP and MIC cases hire attorneys to assist and represent them? The answer is yes in all cases, no exceptions. For criminal cases there is no substitute for the advice and advocacy of a skilled, experienced attorney esteemed and respected by prosecutors and judges as dedicated to reaching the best results for clients. Legal fees may seem like heavy expenses to be avoided, but to do without “assistance of counsel” [5] for that reason is a self-defeating false economy and an idea minors would do well to forget.

Expungement of MIC and MIP Records

Any minor convicted of not more than one MIP or MIC violation on reaching the age of 21 may apply to the court which recorded the judgment of conviction to expunge it. The application must state under penalty of perjury that the applicant has no MIP nor MIC conviction other than that presented for expungement.

Expungement is mandatory if the court finds no other violation of the Alcoholic Beverage Code by the applicant as a minor. The expungement order removes “the conviction together with all complaints, verdicts, sentences, and other documents relating to the offense . . . from the applicant’s record” [6] and releases the applicant from all disabilities from the conviction, which never may be “shown or made known for any purpose.” [7]

[1] Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 106.05(a). Exceptions: A minor may possess an alcoholic beverage “in the course and scope of the minor’s employment” or “in the visible presence of his adult parent, guardian, or spouse,” Id, Section 106.05(b).

[2] Id, Section 106.04.

[3] “Deferred adjudication is to divert the accused from the gauntlet run of the criminal justice system and to allow the judge to enter into a clearly understood pact with the accused that will induce and persuade him to follow the diversionary road. During that time, there is no finding of guilt and no final conviction. Instead, the judge makes a finding that the evidence substantiates the defendant’s guilt and then defers the adjudication. The case is temporarily stilled and the accused is permitted an opportunity to demonstrate his capacity for prescribed good behavior during a specified period. If the defendant succeeds, the case, for most purposes, disappears. If he fails, the case continues on as if it had never been interrupted. Taylor v State, 131 SW3d 497, 500 (TXCrimApp 2004).

[4] Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, Section 106.071(b)–(d).

[5] “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused . . . shall have the assistance of counsel for his defense,” United States Constitution Amendment VI.

[6] Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, Section 106.12(c).

[7] Ibid. Expungement applications filing fees cost $30, Id, Section 1612(d).

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First MIP

  • Class C Misdemeanor;
  • Up to $500 fine;
  • 8 to 12 hours community service;
  • Court shall require Alcohol Awareness Program or a Drug and Alcohol Driving Awareness;
  • Younger than 18, Court may require the parent or guardian to attend the program with child;
  • 30 day driver’s license suspicion;
  • Court shall require within 90 days evidence of satisfactory completed program:
  1. May get up to 90 extension;
  2. If completed Court may reduce the assessed fine by half;
  3. If fail to provide evidence, Court will suspend license for 6 months.

MIP with 1 prior:

  • Class C Misdemeanor;
  • Fine up to $500;
  • 20 to 40 hours community service;
  • Court may require Alcohol Awareness Program or a Drug and Alcohol Driving Awareness;
  • Younger than 18, Court may require the parent or guardian to attend the program with child;
  • 60 day driver’s license suspicion;
  • Court shall require within 90 days evidence of satisfactory completed program:
  1. May get up to 90 extension;
  2. If completed Court may reduce the assessed fine by half;
  3. If fail to provide evidence, Court will suspend license for 1 year.

MIP with 2 or more priors:

!Not eligible for deferred disposition!

  • Fine of not less than $250 or more than $2,000;
  • Confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days; or
  • OR BOTH the fine and confinement;
  • 20 to 40 hours community service;
  • Court may require Alcohol Awareness Program or a Drug and Alcohol Driving Awareness.
  • Younger than 18, Court may require the parent or guardian to attend the program with child.
  • 180 day driver’s license suspicion;
  • Court requires within 90 days evidence of satisfactory completed programs:
  1. May get up to 90 extension;
  2. If completed Court may reduce the assessed fine by half;
  3. If fail to provide evidence, Court will suspend license for 1 year.

General MIP Notes:

A deferred disposition is considered a “conviction” for prior MIPs.
License suspension for MIP starts 11th day after conviction.
If only 1 conviction, then eligible for expunction when child reaches the age of 21.
Please, has to be made “before a judge” in “open court.”
Reference Chapter 106 of Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code

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