Underage Possession of Alcohol

Blacksburg Lawyer for Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP)

Do you need a Blacksburg lawyer for a minor in possession (MIP) alcohol charge?

Here’s an overview. If you are under the age of 21 and caught possessing alcohol – whether on campus, in the dorm, or off campus – you can be found guilty of a Class 1 Misdemeanor under Virginia Code 4.1-305. But there is an opportunity to get the charge reduced or dismissed from your record depending on the circumstances.

Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP): Elements

Under Virginia law, a Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP) charge is defined as:

  1. Class 1 Misdemeanor
  2. Up to 12 months jail and/or $2,500 fine
    1. MIP (4.1-305(A)) – No person under 21 years old may consume, purchase, or possess alcohol
    2. Fake ID (4.1-305(A)) – No person under 21 years old may use or attempt to use altered, fictitious, facsimile, or simulated license in an attempt to consume, purchase, or possess alcohol

The elements for Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP) include:

  1. Consume, purchase or possess
    1. Odor of alcohol; confession; biological possession; blood and/or breath test
  2. Fake ID
    1. Note, the statute does not prohibit use of another person’s real identification in an attempt purchase alcohol; it only prohibits use of an “altered, fictitious, facsimile, or simulated” license

Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP): Penalty

Here is a typical sentence in Blacksburg courts for Virginia Tech students charged with Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP):

  1. $500 fine or 50 hours community service
  2. 6-12 months suspended/restricted license
  3. VASAP
  4. Deferred adjudication (4.1-305(F))

If this is your first offense for Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP), you may be eligible for the court’s first offender program. The case will be taken under advisement for a period of time, and so long as you complete the court’s requirements, the charge will be dismissed.

A first offender program will likely include:

  1. Fine or Community Service – You will need to complete a certain number of hours of community service on campus, supervised by the court, during the probationary period.
  2. License Restriction – The court will be required to either suspend or restrict your privilege to drive while the case is under advisement. You will still be able to drive to class, court appointments, and other mandatory meetings while the case is under advisement if your license is restricted.
  3. Alcohol Safety Action Program – While your case is pending dismissal, you will be required to complete a substance abuse and alcohol assessment by a court officer, i.e. VASAP, and complete any courses that the officer determines are necessary to help you become drug and alcohol free.

By successfully completing the first offender program, you can avoid a permanent conviction on your criminal record. This is especially important if you are a student at Virginia Tech, Radford University, Roanoke College, Hollins University, or other area universities.

Though the charge will not necessarily be eligible for expungement, you will avoid a conviction, which means your record will be clear for background checks when you apply for internships, jobs, and graduate school.

For assistance in your Blacksburg case involving Minor in Possession of alcohol (MIP), contact my office for a free consultation by calling (540) 585-1776.