Few people wait until they are 21 to have their first alcoholic beverage. Even though it may be against the law, there are plenty of opportunities for minors to obtain alcohol, especially when they have friends that are above the legal age. In Tempe, the population is high with many college students ranging from 18 to well past the legal drinking age. The problem is, if you get caught even with a can of beer in your hand, you can be charged with a MIP. If you had a drink, you can be charged with a MIC, possibly damaging your permanent record.
What is a MIC or MIP?
Minor in consumption (MIC) and minor in possession (MIP) are very similar; both misdemeanors and both involving minors and alcohol. While a MIC is used to limit consumption of alcohol by minors, a MIP focuses more on minors trying to enter establishments selling alcohol or stopping them from trying to buy alcohol. Both can lead to a misdemeanor charge that can stay on a person’s permanent record, as well as possible jail time, fines, and other penalties like suspension of driving privileges. Actions that can lead to a MIP or MIC include:
- Trying to enter a licensed alcohol establishment using a fake ID
- Trying to buy alcohol using a fake ID
- Soliciting someone over 21 to buy alcohol
- Any consumption of alcohol in a public place
- Possession of alcohol
There are only a few exceptions to the law when it comes to minors and alcohol. Minors can enter a licensed alcohol establishment with a spouse or legal guardian who is over 21; and minors can work in these establishments. Alcohol can also be consumed for religious ceremonies and medical reasons. But consumption or possession for personal enjoyment or social reasons is strictly prohibited and a common charge occurring in Tempe.
It is not just those who are in a bar or obviously intoxicated in public who can be cited for MIP. Just being at a party in Tempe where alcohol is being consumed could put you at risk for a MIP. If you are caught even holding an alcoholic beverage, even if you have not consumed any alcohol, you can be charged. Same is true for entering a bar with a fake ID – even if you do not drink any alcohol and just went to listen to a band or dance, you could be facing serious charges.
Fighting a MIC or MIP Charge in Tempe
The Tempe police and ASU officers are rigorous about issuing MIC and MIP charges to the many students and young people in this town. Any given weekend can result in raids at college parties where many of the people attending are under 21. However, even though it is a common charge in a college town, it should not be taken lightly. It is a misdemeanor and can impact your future and permanent record. It is important to do everything possible to get the charges dropped or reduced to limit the affect it will have on the rest of your life.
A misdemeanor on your record can have many negative impacts. If you are in college, it could jeopardize your enrollment, depending on the code of conduct at your school. Not only could you be facing legal penalties, it can impact your education. Plus, a misdemeanor does not go away. Years from now, when you need a background check performed for an employment or other opportunity, a misdemeanor conviction will still be there. In the more immediate future, you could be facing paying fines or spending time in jail which could impact your school, job, and financial status.
One of the first options to consider is a diversion program. Your attorney can help determine if you are eligible to take classes or do community service to divert the charge from going on your permanent record. This can be the easiest option for many but may not be available if this is not your first MIP or MIC in Arizona. If you have already completed a diversion program or been previously convicted of a MIP or MIC, it is even more important to have an attorney on your side to help you find the best options for getting your charge reduced or dismissed.
Legal Defense for MIP/MIC in Tempe
If you are charged with a MIP or MIC in Tempe, do not make the mistake of pleading guilty to the charge. Contact our team at Matthew Lopez Law to discuss your case. We can help you explore the different options to have the charge diverted, reduced, or dismissed to limit the impact of one mistake on the rest of your life. Call our office to talk to one of our legal experts – your first consultation is free and may be the best call you ever make.