Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP) is a criminal offense in Arizona that prohibits minors, those under the age of 21, from possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages. The relevant statute is Arizona Revised Statutes 4-244(9).
Under this law, it is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to knowingly possess or consume any alcoholic beverage in any public place or on any street or highway. It is also illegal for minors to attempt to purchase or obtain alcohol or to use a fake ID to purchase or obtain alcohol.
A first offense MIP conviction in Arizona is typically charged as a Class 2 misdemeanor, which can result in a fine of up to $750 and a maximum of 4 months in jail. However, in some cases, the court may order community service or participation in an alcohol education or treatment program as an alternative to jail time. Subsequent offenses may result in harsher penalties, including longer jail sentences and higher fines.
Additionally, a conviction for MIP may have other consequences beyond the criminal penalties. For example, a person’s driver’s license may be suspended for up to 2 years, and a conviction can appear on a person’s criminal record, potentially affecting their future employment or educational opportunities.
It is important to note that there are certain exceptions to the MIP law in Arizona. For example, minors may possess or consume alcohol for medicinal or religious purposes, or in the course of employment. However, these exceptions are narrowly defined, and it is important to consult with an attorney if you are facing MIP charges and believe that you may qualify for an exception.
If you are facing MIP charges in Arizona, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your legal options and potential defenses.