In Mississippi, the crime of minor in possession of alcohol (commonly referred to as MIP) is found in the Mississippi Code Annotated Section 67-1-81. It states that any person under the age of 21 who purchases, receives, or has in his or her possession, in any public place, any alcoholic beverage, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished with a fine of $200-$500. There is an exception for any work-related activities, such as stocking or bagging alcohol in the scope of employment, or minors who work in restaurants and serve alcoholic drinks.
It is also a crime for a minor to knowingly make a false statement to the effect that he or she is twenty-one (21) years old or older or to present any document that indicates he or she is twenty-one (21) years of age or older for the purpose of purchasing alcoholic beverages from any person engaged in the sale of alcoholic beverages. This too is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $200-$500, and also carries a maximum of 30 days community service.
Should the minor plead guilty to or be convicted of the offense, the judge shall suspend the minor’s driver’s license for up to 90 days, but also suspend any of the previously mentioned penalties. Essentially, then, instead of fines or community service, the punishment becomes a suspended license for up to 90 days. Addtionally, the judge may place the minor on probation for that period of time and impose any appropriate conditions. This could include a curfew and attendance at an alcohol safety class.
Notice that the law in Section 67-1-81 criminalizes possession or consumption in a public place. It does not mention private areas. So what happens when minors are drinking on private property? Another Mississippi law, Code section 67-3-70, states that it is a misdemeanor for anyone under 21 to purchase or possess any light wine or beer. It is not limited to being in public like the other law is, so it could be used to prosecute minors in possession on private property. Interestingly, though, this law criminalizes possession of only “light wine or beer.” It does not mention liquor.
Reegardless of whether it’s on private or public property, a Mississippi minor in possession charge is a serious matter, especially for young men or women who are applying for jobs and colleges. You want to make sure that it does not result in a permanent conviction on their record. Minors between the ages of 18-20 are considered adults legally, and any conviction could follow them around for life, available for anyone to see.
If you or your son or daughter are facing an underage drinking charge, Southaven minor in possession lawyer Patrick Stegall can help. He can insure that the charge does not turn into a permanent conviction, and he can guide you through the complex court process. If you’ve never been to court before, you’ll appreciate having an experienced attorney on your side. For more information, please contact Mr. Stegall at (901) 205-9894, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.