A minor in possession (MIP) charge is typically used when a young person is found to be in possession of alcohol. No one is legally allowed to buy or possess alcohol until they are 21 years of age or older, but many high school and college students find ways to access liquor, wine or beer anyhow.
Remember that a minor can get this charge without breaking any other laws. They don’t have to be drinking and driving, for instance, or doing something reckless. Simply having a beer at a party that gets broken up by the police is enough for a charge.
Why did it happen?
As a parent, you may find yourself wondering why this happened. Your teen has always followed the law, they never drink at home and you didn’t think they were even all that interested in it. Why would they abandon that stance and drink at a party?
First off, this is very common, regardless of what parents believe about their own children. Stats show that most (60%) young people do drink before they even turn 18 years of age. Someone is in the minority if they get to college and they have never had alcohol before.
One of the biggest reasons for underage drinking, then, is peer pressure. Teens want to fit in. They feel like “everyone is doing it” and they’re not wrong. Most people are doing it. To be accepted with a peer group, someone may knowingly break the law in this way.
What can you do next?
A MIP is serious for a young person and can have a major impact on their life. Be sure you and your teen understand your legal options.