When someone has been charged with Minor in Possession (MIP), it means the defendant is under the age of 21 and has been cited by a police officer for illegally possessing or controlling an alcoholic beverage.
In our experience, minors are especially at risk of a MIP citation when they’re at a high school or college party, a nightclub, a bonfire, a park where kids hang out, or while riding in an automobile where there are open containers of alcohol.
A minor can be in an environment where alcohol is present; for example, they can be near alcohol at a family party or a restaurant that serves alcohol, but minors are strictly prohibited by law from holding, consuming, purchasing, touching, or transporting alcohol. In other words, they cannot touch it in any way.
Constructive Possession of Alcohol is Forbidden
Minors cannot even be in “constructive possession” of alcohol. An example of this is where a minor is in the backseat of a vehicle with an open bottle of wine. If the alcohol is readily accessible to the minor, he or she can be cited for MIP.
If the alcohol is in the backseat, on the floor, or even in the trunk and the minor has the keys to unlock the trunk, the minor can be accused of committing an offense under Section 106.05 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. So parents, please don’t let your teens drive around without you if your alcohol is anywhere in the vehicle. However, if a parent or legal guardian is present, the child should not get in trouble as long as they aren’t handling or drinking the alcohol.
Minor in possession of alcohol under Sec. 106.05 is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500, up to 12 hours of community service, and a driver license suspension. If the minor has two prior convictions for MIP, he or she faces a fine up to $2,000, or up to six months in jail, or a fine and incarceration.
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