Minor in possession of alcohol or MIP is a common charge among young adults. In Georgia you can be charge with MIP by actual possession of alcohol or possession by consumption. The be charged by the latter, the officer can say he smells alcohol coming from the individual, give a portable breath test or the individual can admit to it. Officers usually just issue a citation and the individual is released or in some cases they are placed under arrest.
The penalty for MIP in Georgia is a maximum 6 month in jail and $300.00 fine for a first time offender. Now, it is highly unlikely you will get jail time for a first time offense. Most jurisdictions offer some type of diversion program. Diversion is a way to avoid a conviction. You agree to do certain things nad in return the State dismisses your charges. Typical things that are required are: community service hours, alcohol and drug evaluation, teen panels or victim impact panels, essays, clean alcohol/drug screens and diversion fees.
If you aren’t eligible for diversion or the jurisdiction you are charged in does not have a diversion program, you can enter a plea under the conditions discharge statute, O.C.G.A. Sec. 3-3-23.1. This means after your probation period, you will not have a conviction on your record.
Finally, if you have a second charge of MIP or more, the penalties are tougher. Feel free to contact Blevins & Hong, P.C. If you are in need of legal representation.
By Richard N. Blevins