In this week's installment of Simplified Law, we're going to take a look at Minor in Possession of Alcohol charges in Denver, Adams, and Jefferson County. As usual, the legal definition of this offense can be confusing. Today, we'll give you the simple definition as well as some examples to illustrate just how easy it is for juveniles and young adults to be charged with this offense of Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP).
The Legal Definition of Minor in Possession of Alcohol, Marijuana or Marijuana Paraphernalia
The legal jargon:
1.“Except as described by section 18-1-711 and subsection (4.5) of this section, a person under twenty-one years of age who possesses or consumes ethyl alcohol anywhere in the state of Colorado commits illegal possession or consumption of ethyl alcohol by an underage person. Illegal possession or consumption of ethyl alcohol by an underage person is a strict liability offense.”
2.“Except as described by section 14 of article XVIII of the Colorado constitution and section 18-18-406.3, a person under twenty-one years of age who possesses one ounce or less of marijuana or consumes marijuana anywhere in the state of Colorado commits illegal possession or consumption of marijuana by an underage person. Illegal possession or consumption of marijuana by an underage person is a strict liability offense.
3.“Except as described by section 14 of article XVIII of the Colorado constitution and section 18-18-406.3, a person under twenty-one years of age who possesses marijuana paraphernalia anywhere in the state of Colorado and knows or reasonably should know that the drug paraphernalia could be used in circumstances in violation of the laws of this state commits illegal possession of marijuana paraphernalia by an underage person. Illegal possession of marijuana paraphernalia by an underage person is a strict liability offense.
The Simplified Definition of Minor in Possession of Alcohol, Marijuana or Marijuana Paraphernalia
The simplified version:
1.“It is illegal for any person under the age of twenty-one years old to possess or drink alcohol, except in a few specific circumstances.”
2.“It is illegal for any person under the age of twenty-one years old to possess or consume an ounce or less of marijuana, except in a few specific circumstances.”
3.“It is illegal for any person under twenty-one years old to possess marijuana paraphernalia, except in a few specific circumstances.”
When It's Legal for a Minor to Drink
The Exceptions to the Rule
There are a few exceptions to the law against an underage person drinking. These are very specific circumstances. If your child is facing Minor in Possession of Alcohol charges, it is vital that your criminal defense lawyer have a thorough understanding and grasp of these defenses to an MIP charge. Let's look at each one individually mentioned in the statute (C.R.S. 18-13-122). These are all affirmative defenses to a Minor in Possession of Alcohol charge:
1.On Private Property with Permission
If the person consumed or possessed alcohol on private property, with the consent of both the owner of the property, and their own parent or legal guardian.
2.As Part of a Religious Service
If the person consumed or possessed alcohol during a religious service, which is protected by the first amendment to the United States Constitution.
3.As Part of a Culinary Arts Class
If the person consumed or possessed alcohol as part of a culinary arts class and tasted, but did not imbibe, when the instructor is an adult.
4.The Alcohol was Ingested
If the alcohol was consumed as a result of eating a food or a confection which contains alcohol or an alcohol substance.
5.Another Drinker was in Distress
If the underage person called the police because another drinker was in distress, and remained on the scene to meet the police.
Examples of Minor in Possession of Alcohol Charges
Image Credit: Pixabay – ClkerFreeVectorImages
Trisha is excited to attend college at the University of Denver. She attended high school in Weld County, so she's looking forward to being in the city and making new friends. The first week of college is always tough, but she makes some new friends who invite her over for their apartment for a party. Trisha is surprised that everyone is drinking – after all, they are all under 21. But, everyone's drinking, so Trisha pops open a beer to fit in with the crowd. After all, she's an adult, right? Unfortunately, a few minutes later, the police enter the house on a noise complaint. This young college student is caught off guard, beer in hand. Trisha is now facing Minor in Possession of Alcohol charges. This happens in colleges across the state, at Colorado State University, and the University of Colorado.
Image Credit: Pixabay – OpenClipartVectors
Jason is a good guy. He has a clean record; he's finishing high school and planning on attending Metropolitan State University of Denver. He has good friends, too, but they all tend to party a bit more than he cares for. One day, his friend Kevin invites him to run some errands with him and Jason agrees. After stopping at a few places to pick up a few things, Kevin pulls out a bottle of vodka from the dashboard, and laughs about needing “just a bit.” Jason is horrified and refuses to drink. Just then, police lights flash in the rearview mirror. Kevin pulls over, and the police officer spots the open bottle of vodka in the car. Unfortunately, because Jason was in the car with the alcohol, he is now facing Minor in Possession of Alcohol charges.
Consequences of an MIP Conviction
It seems ridiculous that a legal adult who can vote, buy cigarettes, and put their life on the line for their country serving in the military cannot drink, consume marijuana or possess marijuana paraphernalia. But, that's the law in Arapahoe, Douglas, and El Paso County. The consequences of an MIP An MIP conviction can disqualify your kids from receiving student loans in the future.conviction don't often include jail or probation time (unless they are a repeat offender). Instead, a person convicted of MIP will most likely face a fine. The biggest consequence lies in their disqualification from receiving subsidized student loans. This can make a huge impact on a teenager's future. For this reason, it is important that a person who is facing Minor in Possession of Alcohol charges contact an honest criminal defense lawyer immediately. If your child has been charged, it is vital to protect their future and the options they have for planning and preparing for their career.
Get Help Now
If you or your child is facing Minor in Possession of Alcohol charges, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the O'Malley Law Office for a free consultation at 303-830-0880. If you or a friend needs a jail visit from an attorney, we can do that. Together, we will protect your future.Request a Free Consultation