Some terms and phrases about juvenile crimes can be confusing to those who are not familiar with the legal system. MIP, or minor in possession, is one of those terms. A minor in possession law refers to specific situations regarding young adults’ involvement with drugs or alcohol.
According to FindLaw, MIP laws deal with people under the age of 18 being in possession of alcohol or drugs. It does not matter whether or not they were actually partaking in drinking or doing drugs, since this law only deals with the legal ramifications of being in possession of these items. This is an important distinction when it comes to DUIs or other repercussions. You may be violating minor in possession laws if you are under the legal drinking age and try to drive a car while in possession of alcohol, get caught holding an opened drink, or try to buy alcohol.
However, there are some exceptions to this law. Although somewhat uncommon, you could argue that the container that you were holding did not actually contain any alcohol or illicit substances. Religious ceremonies also fall under a unique circumstance that typically is exempt from the minor in possession laws. In addition, some states’ drinking laws actually allow 19 or 20 year olds to consume alcohol in specific circumstances, even though the national drinking age is 21 years of age. These defenses could make a difference in your case.
Understanding minor in possession laws is important not only for the minors themselves, but for anyone who may consume or purchase alcohol or other substances.