If you are under the age of 21, you can be charged with a minor in possession of alcohol (MIP) offense in Texas, even if you weren’t consuming alcohol or were simply holding an empty beer can or cup that had an alcoholic drink in it. A MIP can result in severe penalties and punishments and seriously affect future job applications, admissions to college or graduate school, status in college, and/or certain types of government assistance.
If you have been charged with a MIP in Dallas, it is important to contact a lawyer experienced with representing individuals who have been charged with drug or alcohol offenses.
Dallas Minor In Possession of Alcohol Lawyer
If you are under 21 and have been charged with possession of alcohol in Dallas, or any of the surrounding areas in Texas, including Garland, Grand Prairie, Irving, Denton, Plano, McKinney, Fort Worth, Arlington, Mesquite, Carrolton, Richardson, Lewisville or Frisco, contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy.
Attorney Richard McConathy is experienced in defending all offenses related to drugs and alcohol and will make every effort to have your charges reduced or even dismissed. Call Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy at (972) 233-5700 about your alleged possession of alcohol offense.
Dallas Minor in Possession of Alcohol
An individual can be charged with minors in possession of alcohol or MIP under section 106.05 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code if they are under the age of 21 and they possess an alcoholic beverage.
In order to be convicted of this offense, the prosecution must show beyond a reasonable doubt you had either actual or constructive possession of the alcoholic beverage. Actual possession is commonly defined as having the alcohol in your hand or actually on your body, including if a liquor bottle was in the purse you were wearing or a flask with liquor was in your pocket.
Constructive possession is much harder for the prosecution to prove and usually occurs when the alcohol is readily accessible but was not actually possessed, the minor had the knowledge the alcohol was present, and the minor had the intent to take actual possession of the alcohol.
Examples of constructive possession can include if the minor was in a vehicle when an alcoholic drink or bottle was present and the minor could have accessed the alcohol or if several alcoholic drinks were at a table where the minor was sitting.
When a Minor Can Possess Alcohol in Dallas
In certain circumstances, a minor can possess an alcoholic beverage without fear of prosecution. These reasons can include:
- If the minor is required to possess alcohol in the course and scope of their lawful employment and they are an employee of a licensee or permittee, e.g. a restaurant;
- If the minor is in the visible presence of their adult parent, guardian or another adult legally responsible for the minor; or
- If the minor is under the immediate supervision of a commissioned peace officer engaged in enforcing the law. An example of this is if the minor assisted the law enforcement officer in a sting operation.
Penalties for MIP in Texas
If a person under the age of 21 is charged with a minor in possession of an alcohol offense, they can be convicted of a Class C misdemeanor first offense. This charge is punishable by a fine of $500. However, if the minor receives two or more convictions for the same or similar offenses, they could be sentenced to:
- A fine of at least $250 but not more than $2,000, and/or
- Jail time up to 180 days.
A minor who has received deferred disposition for a minor in possession of an alcohol offense could also be required to attend an alcohol awareness program, complete community service hours, and receive a driver’s license suspension or denial of issuance of a driver’s license.
A minor on the deferred disposition is required to complete between eight and 12 community service hours for a first offense or 20 to 40 hours if previously convicted of one similar offense.
The driver’s license suspension period for a minor on the deferred disposition is 30 days if no previous convictions for a similar offense, 60 days if the minor has one prior similar offense, or 180 days if the minor has two or more previous convictions for a similar offense.
If the minor does not timely complete the alcohol awareness program or evidence the program has been completed is not timely presented to the court, the juvenile offender could then receive an additional license suspension or denial of issuance up to six months for a first offense or up to one year for a second or subsequent offense.
Options to Avoid Criminal MIP Penalties in Dallas
A juvenile or minor can possibly avoid payment of fines, jail time, and a criminal record by participating in certain programs throughout Dallas County and the surrounding counties. The program options and eligibility vary from county to county.
One such program is commonly called Teen Court. In this voluntary program, Class C misdemeanor juvenile offenders pay for their offense through community service and involvement in the judicial process. The mock court proceedings involve teen volunteers or other teens who have participated in the program to act as prosecutors and jurors and are presided over by an adult attorney or volunteer. After successful completion of the program, the MIP charges are dismissed.
Another program is deferred prosecution, also known as a deferred disposition or deferred adjudication. This type of program is for low-risk juvenile offenders who have committed a first or second offense. In this program, the juvenile completes various requirements within a certain time period, such as community service, complete alcohol awareness courses, urine testing, and counseling. Once the juvenile has successfully completed the requirements, the charges are dismissed.
Find a Dallas Minor In Possession Attorney | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation if your child has been charged with possessing alcohol in Dallas County, Texas. Richard McConathy is an experienced attorney in Dallas for DWI will make every to help your child avoid the most serious penalties and repercussions to their alleged offense.
Call (972) 233-5700 for a free consultation about your child’s alcohol-related offense in Dallas County in Texas and the surrounding counties of Denton County, Collin County and Tarrant County.