What Exactly Is A Minor In Possession (MIP) Charge?
A minor in possession (MIP) charge in SC is the criminal charge a minor receives when they are alleged to have bought (or attempted to buy), possessed, or consumed alcohol. They are several exceptions, such as if the minor is working at a bar and is 18 or older. In this situation, they may serve alcohol, as long as they don’t mix the drinks or serve as a bartender.
Is A MIP Charge Considered A Misdemeanor Or A Felony?
A minor in possession (MIP) charge is classified as a criminal misdemeanor in SC.
Can I Go To Jail For A MIP Charge? What Are The Potential Penalties?
Yes, this charge can have severe consequences and carries up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine. Also, if convicted, the minor will have to complete a minimum 8-hour long alcohol-related education program. These programs come with additional tuition costs that are in addition to any fine imposed by the Court.
Can I Get In Trouble For Holding A Drink Containing alcohol Even If I Am Not Drinking It?
Yes, a minor in possession (MIP) charge can stem from any type of possession of the alcoholic beverage, including simply holding it, even if not drinking it.
What If I Go To A Party Where There Is Alcohol But I Do Not Drink, Can I Get In Trouble?
Yes. In SC, we have two types of possession: actual possession (you are holding the alcoholic beverage) and constructive possession (you have dominion or control) over the alcoholic beverage. Under constructive possession, a police officer can charge a minor with possession of alcohol if they are at a party where alcohol is served, even if they are not physically holding it when the police arrive.
Will The Police Notify My Parents If I Get A MIP Charge?
The police certainly can notify your parents if you get a MIP charge. They have discretion in this matter, and so it is completely up to the individual arresting officer.
Will My License Be Suspended Even If I Am Not Drinking And Driving?
No, as long as you are not alleged to have been driving, your license will not be suspended for a MIP charge alone.
Should I Hire a Lawyer To Fight My Case?
Yes. Anybody charged with minor in possession of alcohol risks severe penalties under South Carolina laws. Despite this fact, many minors in Charleston decide to roll the dice and take their chances. When caught, their best chance to avoid a criminal record and other severe penalties is to contact an experienced, proven Charleston criminal defense attorney.
What Type Of Lawyer Should I Look For?
When charged with this type of offense, you will want to find and hire the Charleston criminal defense attorney who will give you the best chance of not having this charge stay on your criminal record and avoiding jail time. Having prior experience as a prosecutor in Charleston is one criteria you will want to look for. Also, hiring an attorney who has proven successful results in the court where your case will be heard is something you will want to look for. Please call attorney Michael C. Sahn at Sahn Law Firm to discuss your case.
Can I Get My Arrest Sealed Or Expunged?
If your attorney is able to get your charge dismissed, nolle prossed, or found “not guilty,” then the charge immediately becomes eligible for expungement. If you are convicted (including “just paying the fine”), then the charge will not be immediately eligible for expungement and will remain on your criminal record.
For more information on Minor In Possession Charges In SC, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (843) 856-2222 today.