Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP)

The Law
Explanation of MIP Law
Punishment Ranges
Defending MIP Charges


The Law

TEXAS ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CODE 106.05 - Possession of Alcohol by a Minor

(a) Except as provided in Subsection (b) of this section, a minor commits an offense if he possesses an alcoholic beverage.

(b) A minor may possess an alcoholic beverage:
     (1) while in the course and scope of the minor's employment if the minor is an employee of a licensee or permittee and the employment is not prohibited by this code;
     (2) if the minor is in the visible presence of his adult parent, guardian, or spouse, or other adult to whom the minor has been committed by a court; or
     (3) if the minor is under the immediate supervision of a commissioned peace officer engaged in enforcing the provisions of this code.

(c) An offense under this section is punishable as provided by Section 106.071.

Explanation of MIP Law

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, Sec. 106.05 provides that a minor (a person under the age of 21 years) commits this offense if he possesses an alcoholic beverage. A minor may possess alcohol if he is in the visible presence of his adult (over the age of 21 years) parent, guardian, spouse, or other adult to whom he has been committed by a court. A minor may possess alcohol while in the course and scope of his employment if he is an employee of a license or permittee and the employment is not prohibited by this code.

Punishment Ranges

MIP is a Class "C" misdemeanor punished by a fine not to exceed $500.00. However, if a minor has 2 or more prior convictions, the punishment is a fine of not less than $250.00 or more than $2,000.00 and/or confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 6 months!

The court shall order a convicted minor to perform community service for not less than 8 or more than 12 hours. However, if he has a prior conviction, the community service is not less than 20 hours or more than 40 hours.

The court shall order the Department of Public Safety to suspend the minor’s driver’s license or permit or, if he does not have one, to deny the issuance of one for: 30 days if he has no prior convictions; 60 days if he has one prior conviction; or 6 months if he has 2 prior convictions. For the purpose of determining whether a minor has a prior conviction, an order of deferred adjudication for a prior offense is considered a conviction!

The court shall require a convicted minor who has not been previously convicted to attend an alcohol awareness course approved by the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. If he has been previously convicted, the court may require him to attend the course.

Defending MIP Charges

A charge of Minor in Possession (MIP) means that you, being a person under the age of 21 years, have been given a citation by a police officer or Texas Alcohol Beverage Control Officer for being illegally in possession, ownership, or control of an alcoholic beverage. The principal element of this crime, which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, is that you were in possession, ownership, or control of an alcoholic beverage.

Anytime minors attend a party, a nightclub, or enter a vehicle where alcohol is present they are at risk for receiving a MIP. A minor can be in the proximity of alcohol which belongs to another person, but cannot touch, hold in his/her hand, transport, attempt to purchase, consume, or have any contact with it. However, just because you were around alcohol and received a MIP ticket does not mean you are guilty. A skilled lawyer will know how to contend the issue of possession, which is not always easy for a prosecutor to prove.

Possession of an alcoholic beverage may also include situations in which there is "constructive possession." An example of constructive possession is when a minor is in an automobile where alcohol is readily accessible to any minor passenger in that vehicle. This situation extends to alcohol which is on the car seat, floor, or stored in the trunk of an automobile in which the driver is a minor and is in possession of the keys which unlock the trunk. Constructive possession may also exist when you are at a table with several people who are drinking from a pitcher of beer and cups are scattered about, anytime you pick up empty beer cans and cups, anytime you hold a friend’s beer so that they can put on their jacket, or anytime you use a beer can as a spittoon. Furthermore, a minor will be considered to be in possession of alcohol simply if he/she is carrying a grocery bag for a friend that contains alcohol.

Hiring a lawyer to fight your MIP charge can help you keep your record clean.

We Can Help

At the Law Office of Justin Copeland we are dedicated to defending the rights of those in need, and we are committed to the presumption of innocence. We believe in our clients and will aggressively defend your rights, no matter the situation. We recognize that every case is different, and we will build a custom defense strategy based solely on the merits of your case. You can rest assured that we will aggressively fight for your rights.

While we deal with the legal issues in your case, we fully understand the pressures and anxieties that you have to deal with on a day to day basis. We will work to help you through this very difficult time. We are committed to providing you with a helping hand as well as an aggressive legal representation.

Contact an Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer at the Law Office of Justin Copeland Today

At the Law Office of Justin Copeland we believe a client's defense is only as good as the relationship with his or her attorney. This relationship is best developed through open communication. For this reason, the Law Office of Justin Copeland is available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and Mr. Copeland personally returns all of his phone calls. We urge you to contact us today to setup a free initial consultation.

In the News


KXAN - August 6, 2008


The University Star - June 12, 2008

Contact Us

Travis County Office
1307 Nueces
Austin, TX 78701

Williamson County Office
600 Forest St.
Georgetown, TX 78626

Phone: 512.782.4402
Fax: 512.628.6010
Email: jcopeland@jcopelandlaw.com

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