Criminal Defense LawyerLakeland, Tampa, FL

Is a Minor in Possession a Misdemeanour?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has stated that most teens will consume alcohol by age 15. The percentage increases to 70 by the age of 18. Every year nearly 5,000 minor drinkers die, and more than 190,000 are injured from alcohol-related accidents.
Across the US, the possession of alcohol for minors has become a criminal act. MIP laws are put in place to prevent underage drinkers from making future mistakes. It can be scary to face these charges, so be fully prepared.

Underage Drinking in Florida

In the United States, alcohol is consumed by young people, so underage drinking has become a significant problem. It leads to various health and behavioral issues. 
In Florida, anyone younger than 21 isn't allowed to have any alcoholic beverages. It'll lead to a Minor in Possession (MIP) charge, which could result in a hefty fine or even jail time. Due to this crime being a Misdemeanour, a court appearance in juvenile or criminal court will be ordered.

Definition of Minor In Possession

A MIP charge occurs when a person under 21 years has alcoholic beverages in their "possession". It can also include the possession of drugs. MIP mostly refers to alcohol possession because it's the most common cause of arrest for Americans under 21.
Due to the growing substance abuse among minors, underage drinking laws aim to identify them and intercept these behaviors before they can lead to health or legal issues. Minor In Possession of Alcohol laws also aims to discourage misdemeanor rates of:

There are exceptions where a person under the legal drinking age can possess alcohol. These laws don't apply to any employed 18 years old or older serving at a licensed business that’s allowed to sell, prepare, or provide alcoholic beverages to the public.
For anyone accused of any crime, including misdemeanors, we recommend you to call a Florida criminal defense attorney! We have the skills and knowledge to provide a proper defense in a court of law.

Punishments for Minor In Possession in Florida

MIP punishments have a wide-range and usually aim for rehabilitation. A misdemeanor criminal conviction consists of:

  • Fines
  • Suspension or withhold the issuance of a driver's license for up to a year
  • Entry into educational classes on the dangers of alcohol and drinking and driving
  • Enrollment in alcohol-dependency treatment
  • Community service
  • Permanent criminal record

When a teenager has a previous criminal record or is a repeated offender, the punishments become harsher. 

  • First Offense: a $500 fine with a second-degree misdemeanor charge and  60 days jail sentence
  • Second Offense:  a $1,000 fine with a first-degree misdemeanor charge and one year jail sentence

(Source: Florida Statute Section 775.082, Florida Statute Section 562.111, Florida Statute Section 775.083, Florida Statute Section 322.056)
An experienced defense attorney can seek alternatives to conviction through negotiations. If that's not possible several defenses can be used in court to show that the accused wasn’t in control or had no knowledge of the presence of alcohol.

Minor in possession charges can lead to lasting consequences. They can lead to time in jail and a criminal record for the rest of your life. If you, or your child, is under 21 and facing an MIP case, contact a Florida Attorney today at (863) 688-4606!

Hire a Defense Lawyer for MIP Charges

You don’t need to handle underage drinking charges by yourself. Don’t risk life-altering results; instead, ask a professional to assist you with a proper defense. *Such charges could follow you for the rest of your life, so deal with it cautiously. 
We’re readily available to help a client involved with these charges. If you have any questions on the MIP law or are charged in Florida's Lakeland area, you’ll need an experienced criminal defense attorney for misdemeanor charges.
You can contact us by calling our Lakeland, FL Office at (863) 688-4606 or schedule a free consultation.


“If you are facing Minor In Possession charges, you are strongly advised to have proper legal representation and seek advice from licensed attorneys to significantly reduce any fines or penalties you may be faced with.”

Minor In Possession FAQs 

How will a Minor In Possession charge affect my future employment?
It'll become difficult to get hired or licensed in a profession because a MIP charge shows a drug and alcohol criminal history.
Does a Minor In Possession charge show on a background check?
Yes, it will. There are some exceptions to this if you’re under 18.
How do I get my Minor In Possession charges dismissed?
Your attorney can try for a continuance with a dismissal. Being able to do this will depend on the court.

Categories: Criminal Defense
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