Minor In Possession of Alcohol – How To Get Your MIP Ticket Reduced Or Dismissed

MIP Ticket

Minor in Possession of Alcohol will show up on your criminal record and driving record unless you have an attorney get your MIP ticket dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.

Penalties For Minor In Possession Of Alcohol In Missouri

If you are a 1st-time offender and you plead guilty to Minor in Possession of Alcohol in Missouri, the maximum penalty is:

  • $300 Fine
  • No Jail Time

For a 2nd MIP ticket, the maximum punishment is:

  • $1,000 fine and
  • 1 year in jail

Driver’s License Suspended If Convicted Of Minor In Possession of Alcohol

  • Your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days if you plead guilty to an MIP ticket that was issued under Missouri’s “Abuse & Lose” law
  • Your driver’s license will be revoked for 1 year if you plead guilty to MIP for a 2nd time under the “Abuse & Lose” law

Consult your attorney to find out if you have been charged under the “Abuse & Lose” law.

The Missouri Department of Revenue website has information about how to get your license reinstated after pleading guilty to an MIP ticket.

MIP Ticket Does Not Drop Off Your Criminal Record When You Turn 21

An MIP ticket DOES NOT “drop off” of your criminal record when you turn age 21 or after a certain number of years have passed.

Here’s what happens if you plead guilty to MIP/underage drinking:

  • An MIP ticket stays on your CRIMINAL RECORD forever unless you get it expunged.
  • An MIP ticket stays on your DRIVING RECORD forever unless you file a written request with the Missouri Department of Revenue asking for it to be removed
  • A conviction for MIP/Underage Drinking may prevent you from getting a job or internship, renting an apartment, or being accepted into the college of your choice

MIP Expungement

Missouri allows you to expunge only 1 Minor in Possession of Alcohol conviction, and only if it’s a first-time offense.

FOR EXAMPLE: If you plead guilty to an MIP ticket at age 17, and then plead guilty to another MIP ticket 2 years later, neither the first nor the second MIP ticket will be eligible for expungement.

MIP expungement is a court procedure. You will need to hire an attorney to file the petition for expungement and appear at the hearing on your behalf.

For more information about MIP expungement, read my previous blog post “How To Keep An MIP Ticket Off Your Criminal Record.”

The Missouri Department of Revenue website also has information about its requirements for expungement of MIP records.

Hire An Attorney To Fight Your MIP Ticket

An experienced criminal defense attorney can fight your MIP ticket and get the charge reduced to a less serious offense such as “Littering.” Or they can get your MIP ticket completely dismissed after you successfully complete probation.

Some factors that are considered in cases of Minor in Possession of Alcohol:

  • How old are you?
  • Do you have any prior arrests, charges, or convictions on your criminal record?
  • Is your case being prosecuted in municipal court or county circuit court?
  • How much alcohol were you caught with?
  • Was a motor vehicle involved?
  • Were you polite and respectful to the police officer?

What To Do If You Can’t Afford An Attorney For Your MIP Ticket

Public defenders in most counties in Missouri don’t represent people for misdemeanors in municipal court.

However, if your Minor in Possession of Alcohol case is being prosecuted in county circuit court, it is possible that you could qualify to have a public defender represent you. You will have to prove that you have no income and no family to help you hire an attorney.

To find out if you qualify for a public defender, contact the Missouri public defender’s office in the county in which your case is being prosecuted and fill out an application for services.

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For a free consultation about your Minor in Possession of Alcohol ticket, contact Missouri criminal defense attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or at [email protected]

How To Keep An MIP Ticket Off Your Criminal Record

MIP Ticket

An experienced attorney can get your MIP ticket dismissed or reduced so you won’t have a conviction on your criminal record or driving record.

The Punishment For Minor In Possession Of Alcohol Can Include Jail Time

For a first-time offender who has been convicted of Minor in Possession of Alcohol in Missouri, the maximum punishment is:

  • $300 fine
  • No Possibility of Jail Time

If you have previously been charged with Minor in Possession of Alcohol, the maximum punishment is:

  • $1,000 fine and
  • 1 year in jail

Your Driver’s License Can Be Suspended If You Are Convicted Of Minor In Possession of Alcohol

If you are charged with Minor in Possession of Alcohol under Missouri’s “Abuse & Lose” law and you plead guilty, your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days.

Your license will be revoked for 1 year if you plead guilty or are convicted of MIP for a 2nd time under the “Abuse & Lose” law.

An experienced attorney can review your case and tell you whether you are being charged under the “Abuse & Lose” law.

You can click here to read my previous blog post about how to get your driver’s license reinstated after pleading guilty to an MIP ticket.

An MIP Ticket Stays On Your Criminal Record and Driving Record Forever

Unfortunately, MIP tickets do not “drop off” of your record or “get sealed” after a certain number of years, or when you turn 21.

  • An MIP ticket stays on your CRIMINAL RECORD forever unless you file a petition for expungement in court and the judge approves it
  • An MIP ticket stays on your DRIVING RECORD forever unless you file a written request with the Missouri Department of Revenue asking for it to be removed

You Are Allowed To Expunge Only 1 MIP Ticket

Missouri allows you to expunge only 1 Minor in Possession of Alcohol conviction, and only if it’s a first-time offense.

FOR EXAMPLE: If you pleaded guilty to an MIP ticket at age 17, and then pleaded guilty to another MIP ticket 2 years later, neither the first nor the second MIP ticket would be eligible for expungement.

How To Get An MIP Ticket Removed From Your CRIMINAL RECORD

If you pleaded guilty to an MIP ticket and have had no other convictions on your criminal record since that time, you can hire an attorney to file a petition for expungement.

Your petition for expungement of your MIP ticket will be heard by the judge if you meet the following requirements:

  • At least 1 year has passed since you reached the age of 21
  • You have not been convicted of any other alcohol-related offenses since the original MIP conviction
  • You did not have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) when you received the MIP ticket
  • You were not driving a commercial motor vehicle when you received the MIP ticket

The petition for expungement must be filed in the court in which you originally pleaded guilty. There will be a hearing before a judge, who will determine whether to grant your request to expunge your MIP conviction.

How To Get An MIP Ticket Removed From Your DRIVING RECORD

To get an old MIP ticket expunged (removed) from your driving record, you must mail a written request to the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) in Jefferson City, Missouri. Click here to read the DOR’s requirements for expungement.

You are not eligible to have your MIP conviction expunged from your driving record until after you reach age 21 and at least 5 years have passed since your driver’s license was reinstated.

To read more about expungement of an MIP ticket, see my previous blog post “MIP Expungement – Remove The Record Of Your Minor In Possession of Alcohol Ticket.”

Don’t Plead Guilty To An MIP Ticket

Some people plead guilty to Minor in Possession of Alcohol because they don’t want to tell their parents they got the ticket and they can’t afford to hire an attorney without their parents’ financial assistance.

Be warned: If you plead guilty to an MIP ticket, you will have an alcohol-related conviction on your permanent criminal record, which will prevent you from getting a job or internship, renting an apartment, or being accepted into the college of your choice.

An Attorney Can Get Your MIP Ticket Dismissed Or Reduced To A Less Serious Offense

You can hire an attorney to negotiate a plea bargain deal with the court to get your MIP charge either:

  • Dismissed after a period of probation, or
  • Reduced to a less serious offense such as “Littering”

An experienced attorney can review your case and give you an estimate of what they can do for you.

Some factors that the court will consider:

  • Your age
  • Your criminal history
  • The amount of alcohol that was involved
  • Your behavior toward the police officer who issued the MIP ticket

If the judge agrees to dismiss or reduce your Minor in Possession charge, you might have to do some or all of the following:

  • Complete a 1-day alcohol education class
  • Do a few hours of community service
  • Pay a fine and court costs
  • Make a donation to the local Law Enforcement Restitution Fund
  • Serve a period of time on probation

How To Request A Public Defender To Represent You For Your MIP Ticket

If your MIP case is being prosecuted in state court and you can’t afford to hire a private attorney, you can contact the public defender’s office in the county in which your case is being prosecuted to see if you qualify for free representation. You will have to prove that you have no income and no family who can help you hire an attorney.

Unfortunately, public defenders do not represent defendants for misdemeanors in most municipal courts in Missouri, so you will have to hire a private criminal defense attorney if your case is being prosecuted in a municipal court.

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For a free consultation about your MIP ticket, call St. Louis MIP lawyer Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or email Andrea at [email protected]

Minor In Possession – What To Do If You Get A Ticket For Underage Drinking

MIP Ticket

You can avoid getting a conviction for Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP) on your criminal record and driving record if you hire an experienced lawyer to fight your MIP ticket for you.

What Does Minor In Possession Mean?

In Missouri, it is illegal for anyone under age 21 to drink alcohol. If you get caught drinking underage, police could give you a ticket for “Minor in Possession of Alcohol,” “MIP,” or “Underage Drinking.”

Click here to read the law in Missouri for Minor in Possession of Alcohol, which is RSMO 311.325.

Even if you don’t get caught actually drinking alcohol, you can receive a ticket for Minor In Possession Of Alcohol in Missouri if you:

  • Buy (or try to) buy liquor
  • Possess liquor
  • Are “visibly intoxicated”
  • Have a blood alcohol content of more than .02%

FYI – The police are not required to breathalyze you before issuing an MIP ticket, and you don’t have to be drunk to get an MIP ticket.

What Is “Minor In Possession By Consumption”?

Police can give you an MIP ticket even if there is no open container in your possession and the officer did not actually see you take a drink of alcohol.

If a police officer sees someone under age 21 acting “visibly intoxicated” at a house party or outdoor concert but that person is not actually holding a beer can or a red Solo cup, the officer can still issue an MIP ticket. The reason for this is that the person is considered legally in possession of alcohol because they physically consumed alcohol.

The punishment for Minor In Possession Of Alcohol By Consumption is the same as for Minor In Possession Of Alcohol.

You can read more about Minor In Possession Of Alcohol By Consumption in my blog post titled “Get Your MIP Charge Reduced And Keep It Off Your Record.”

Punishment For Minor in Possession of Alcohol or Underage Drinking in Missouri

If you are a first-time offender and you plead guilty to Minor in Possession of Alcohol or Underage Drinking in Missouri, the maximum punishment is:

  • $300 Fine
  • No Jail Time

If you have been charged with MIP before, the maximum punishment is:

  • $1,000 Fine and
  • 1 year in jail

Jail time is not likely for a repeat offender if they have an experienced criminal defense attorney representing them, but you may be placed on probation, be required to perform a few hours of community service, attend an alcohol education class, and/or pay a donation to the local school fund.

What Is The “Abuse & Lose” Law In Missouri?

Anyone under age 21 can be charged under the “Abuse & Lose” law in Missouri, which means:

  • Your driver’s license can be suspended for 90 days (if it’s a 1st offense) for any offense involving the possession or use of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle
  • Your driver’s license can be revoked for 1 year (for a 2nd offense) for any offense involving the possession or use of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle

If you are under age 18 and it’s your 2nd time being charged with an offense involving the possession or use of alcohol (NOT while operating a motor vehicle), the same punishment applies as listed above, which means your driver’s license can be suspended or revoked.

What Happens If You Plead Guilty To Minor In Possession Of Alcohol In Missouri

If you plead guilty to a first-time offense of Minor In Possession Of Alcohol, the judge may sentence you to pay a fine without requiring community service, probation, or completion of an alcohol education class.

However, pleading guilty to MIP will cause a conviction for MIP to show up on your permanent criminal record.

Having an alcohol-related conviction such as MIP on your criminal record may prevent you from obtaining a job or internship, renting an apartment, or getting accepted into college.

Minor In Possession Of Alcohol Convictions Stay On Your Record Forever

Unfortunately, a conviction for Minor In Possession Of Alcohol or Underage Drinking will not get “sealed” or “drop off” of your record after a few years.

If you plead guilty to Minor In Possession Of Alcohol, that conviction stays on your CRIMINAL RECORD forever unless you hire an attorney to get it expunged

In addition, a conviction for Minor In Possession Of Alcohol stays on your DRIVING RECORD forever unless you ask the Missouri Department of Revenue to remove it.

An MIP conviction is not eligible for removal from your driving record until you reach age 21 and 5 years have passed since your driver’s license was reinstated.

Click here for more information about removal of your MIP conviction from your driving record, or consult the Missouri Department of Revenue website.

You Can Get An MIP Conviction Expunged From Your Criminal Record

Expungement of an MIP conviction is possible if it was your first offense and you have had a clean record since the original conviction date.

You are allowed to expunge only one MIP conviction in your lifetime, and only if it it your first offense.

I discuss MIP expungement in more depth in my previous blog post “MIP Expungement – Remove The Record Of Your Minor In Possession Of Alcohol Ticket.”

Hire A Lawyer To Get Your MIP Ticket Dismissed Or Reduced To A Less Serious Offense

It is very likely that you will NOT have to appear in court if you have an experienced lawyer representing you for your MIP ticket. Your lawyer will negotiate a plea bargain deal to get your MIP ticket either:

  • Reduced to a less serious offense, such as “Littering,” or
  • Dismissed completely

The outcome of your case depends on:

  • Your age
  • Your behavior toward the police officer
  • Your criminal history
  • Which court your case is being prosecuted in

In more serious cases in which 1) the defendant has prior convictions or 2) defendant’s case is being prosecuted in state court, the defendant may be required to do one or all of the following:

  • Be placed on probation
  • Attend an alcohol education class
  • Do a few hours of community service
  • Pay a “donation” to the local school fund
  • Have your driver’s license suspended or revoked (if charged under “Abuse & Lose” law)

If you consult an experienced criminal defense attorney, they can give you a flat-fee price quote for how much they will charge to represent you, including an estimate of the outcome of your case and an estimate of the amount of any fines and court costs you may have to pay.

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For a free consultation about your Minor in Possession of Alcohol ticket, call criminal defense attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or email Andrea at [email protected].

Get Your MIP Charge Reduced And Keep It Off Your Record

MIP Ticket

You can hire an attorney to get your MIP charge reduced or dismissed so it won’t show up on your criminal record or driving record.

An Attorney Can Get Your MIP Charge Reduced To “Littering” Or Dismissed

An experienced criminal defense attorney can get your MIP charge 1) reduced to a less serious offense, such as “Littering,” or 2) dismissed completely.

Your attorney can give you an estimate of the most likely outcome of your case, depending on these factors:

  • The Court – Which court is your case being prosecuted in? Where you got caught underage drinking makes a huge difference in the outcome of your MIP case because some courts are more strict than others.
  • Your Attorney – Does your attorney have experience handling MIP cases and are they familiar with the court in which your case is being prosecuted?
  • Your Criminal History – Do you have prior drug- or alcohol-related arrests, charges, or convictions on your criminal record?
  • Your Age – When will you be 21 years old?
  • Your behavior – Were you polite and respectful to the police officer?

The outcome of an MIP case can vary widely, depending on the factors listed above.

For example, if your MIP ticket is being prosecuted in a Municipal Court, your attorney may be able to get your MIP charge reduced to “Littering” after you pay a fine and court costs, with no court appearance required.

If your MIP ticket is being prosecuted in a Circuit Court, the best possible plea bargain deal may include probation, completion of an alcohol education class, community service, and/or payment of a donation to the local law enforcement restitution fund.

Why Did You Get an MIP Ticket If You Weren’t Drunk?

In Missouri, underage drinking is charged as a misdemeanor called “Minor in Possession of Alcohol” or “MIP.” Missouri’s Minor in Possession of Alcohol law is RSMO 311.325.

Police officers can issue a ticket for Minor in Possession of Alcohol if they catch you doing any of the following:

  • Buying or attempting to buy liquor
  • Possessing liquor
  • Acting intoxicated
  • Having a detectable blood alcohol content of more than .02% (two-hundredths of one percent) or more

You don’t have to be drunk to get an MIP ticket, and police officers don’t have to breathalyze you before giving you an MIP ticket.

Most Common Places Minors Get Caught Under Age Drinking

Some common places where police officers issue tickets for Minor In Possession of Alcohol:

  • Mardi Gras (at the parade, in bars, etc.)
  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  • House Party
  • Parking Lot at Hollywood Casino Amphitheater before a concert
  • In a park late at night

Other examples:

A police officer sees you take a sip of a drink belonging to your friend (who is 21) in a bar or at an outdoor concert or sporting event, so they give you a ticket for Minor in Possession of Alcohol.

You are a passenger in a vehicle that gets pulled over for a traffic violation and the cop sees beer cans in the car, so everyone in the car who is under age 21 will get a ticket for Minor in Possession of Alcohol.

What Is Minor In Possession Of Alcohol By Consumption?

In addition to the standard Minor in Possession of Alcohol ticket, you can also be charged with “Minor in Possession of Alcohol by Consumption.”

The “consumption” means you don’t have any containers of alcohol in your possession, but you appear to be intoxicated.

Minor in Possession of Alcohol By Consumption is considered the same as a regular MIP ticket.

Just like a regular MIP ticket, you can get an “MIP By Consumption” ticket even if you are not drunk, and the police officer is not required to breathalyze you.

Penalties For Minor In Possession Of Alcohol In Missouri

If this is the first time you have been charged with Minor in Possession of Alcohol, the maximum punishment is:

  • $300 fine
  • No Possibility of Jail Time

If you have been charged with MIP before, the maximum punishment is:

  • 1 year in jail and
  • $1,000 fine

Jail time is highly unlikely for a first-time offender, or for a repeat offender who hires an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent them.

Even if all you have to do is pay a fine, you will still have an alcohol-related conviction on your criminal record if you plead guilty to Minor in Possession of Alcohol. Having an MIP conviction can make it very difficult to get a job or internship, or be accepted into college.

You Can Lose Your Driver’s License If You Plead Guilty To Minor In Possession of Alcohol

Your driver’s license can be suspended for 90 days if you plead guilty or are convicted of Minor in Possession of Alcohol under Missouri’s “Abuse & Lose” law. If you plead guilty or are convicted of MIP for a 2nd time, the state can revoke your driver’s license for 1 year.

An MIP Conviction Stays On Your Record Forever

Many people incorrectly believe that an MIP conviction will eventually “drop off” of your record after a certain period of time has passed, or after you turn 21. This is not true.

  • An MIP conviction stays on your criminal record forever unless you file a petition for expungement in court
  • An MIP conviction stays on your driving record forever unless you request that it be removed

How To Get An MIP Conviction Expunged From Your Criminal Record

If you pleaded guilty to Minor in Possession of Alcohol but have had a clean record since then, you can file a petition in court to get a first-time MIP conviction expunged (removed) from your criminal record.

The petition for expungement must be filed in the court where you were sentenced, and there will be a hearing before a judge, who will decide whether to allow your MIP conviction to be expunged.

How To Get An MIP Conviction Expunged From Your Driving Record

To remove an old MIP conviction from your driving record, you must send a written request to the Missouri Department of Revenue.

You are eligible to have your MIP conviction removed from your driving record after you reach age 21 and at least 5 years have passed since your driver’s license was reinstated.

For more information about expungement of an MIP conviction, read my previous blog post “MIP Expungement – Remove The Record Of Your Minor In Possession of Alcohol Ticket.”

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If you need help getting your MIP charge reduced or dismissed, call St. Louis MIP lawyer Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or email Andrea at [email protected] for a free consultation about your case.

Minor in Possession of Alcohol Tickets Can Be Dismissed or Reduced To a Lesser Offense

Minor in Possession of Alcohol

To get your Minor in Possession of Alcohol ticket dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense, you will need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight your MIP charge in court.

An Attorney Can Fight Your MIP Ticket

An experienced attorney can convince the Prosecutor to amend your Minor in Possession of Alcohol ticket to “Littering” and only require you to pay a fine and court costs, or possibly dismiss your MIP ticket after you complete an alcohol education class and/or do a few hours of community service and pay court costs.

The outcome of your MIP case depends on:

  • Which court your case is being prosecuted in
  • Your age
  • Your criminal history
  • Whether you were charged under the “Abuse & Lose” law
  • The skill and experience of the attorney who is representing you
  • The specific details of your case

When Can Police Issue a Ticket for Minor in Possession of Alcohol?

The blood alcohol limit is .02 in Missouri for underage drinking, but a police officer can issue an MIP ticket without administering a breathalyzer test if you are under age 21 and:

  • The police officer believes you are visibly intoxicated
  • The police officer sees that you possess intoxicating liquor
  • There is evidence that you purchased or attempted to purchase intoxicating liquor

Common situations in which a police officer will issue a ticket for Minor in Possession of Alcohol:

  • Liquor Store – You are underage and try to buy wine or liquor
  • Traffic Stop – Police pull you over for a traffic violation and see a beer can or liquor bottle in your vehicle
  • Concert – Undercover police officer sees you drinking alcohol in the parking lot before attending a concert
  • Mardi Gras/St. Patrick’s Day Parade/4th of July Celebration – Police officer sees you drinking alcohol at a public outdoor event
  • House Party – You are at a house party and the police show up and issue MIP tickets to everyone at the party who seems intoxicated

PLEASE NOTE:  Other charges involving underage drinking, such as “Providing Alcohol to a Minor” and “Using a Fake I.D.” are sometimes considered more serious than Minor in Possession of Alcohol tickets by prosecutors and judges.

Don’t Plead Guilty To Minor in Possession of Alcohol

Many people incorrectly believe that an MIP charge will automatically “drop off” of their criminal record after the defendant reaches age 21. This is not true. Pleading guilty will cause you to have a conviction for Minor in Possession of Alcohol on your permanent criminal record forever, until you hire an attorney to petition the court to have it expunged.

Having an alcohol-related conviction on your criminal record can prevent you from getting a job and may negatively affect your chances of being accepted into the college of your choice.

A First-Time MIP Conviction Can Be Expunged After You Plead Guilty

If you already pleaded guilty to Minor in Possession of Alcohol, you can hire an attorney to expunge the MIP conviction from your criminal record. Here is some important information if you are considering hiring an attorney to expunge your MIP conviction:

  • Defendants are allowed only 1 expungement pursuant to RSMO 311.326
  • Your attorney must file a petition to expunge your MIP conviction in the court where you were sentenced
  • There will be a hearing in front of a judge
  • If the judge agrees to the expungement, the records of your MIP arrest, plea, trial, and conviction will all be expunged
  • The petition to expunge your MIP conviction can’t be filed until after a period of not less than 1 year after you reach age 21

Expunging the conviction after you have pleaded guilty to MIP is more expensive than hiring a lawyer to get the MIP charge dismissed or reduced when you were first charged. Also, there is no guarantee that the judge will agree to expunge your MIP conviction.

Jail Time Is Possible For Repeat MIP Offenders

For first-time offenders charged with Minor in Possession of Alcohol or Underage Drinking in Missouri, the maximum fine is $300 with no possibility of jail time.

If you get charged with MIP a second time, it’s considered a class A misdemeanor and the maximum punishment is 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

A Minor in Possession of Alcohol Ticket Can Cause You To Lose Your Driver’s License

If you are charged with MIP under Missouri’s “Abuse & Lose” law, your driver’s license can be suspended for 90 days if it’s your first offense. The suspension of your license is in addition to the fine and possible jail time (if you have prior convictions on your criminal record). You can call the court  clerk or ask your attorney to determine if you have been charged under the “Abuse & Lose” law.

Contact the Missouri Department of Revenue at (573) 751-4475 or go to their website if you have questions about how to get reinstated after your license was suspended due to an MIP conviction.

How Long Does an MIP Conviction Stay On Your Record?

An MIP conviction stays on your criminal record forever, unless you hire an attorney to expunge it.

In addition, an MIP conviction remains on your driving record for 5 years after your license reinstatement date, and then you must send a written request to the Missouri Department of Revenue asking them to remove it from your driving record.


Call St. Louis criminal defense attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 for a free consultation about your case and get a flat-fee price quote for how much she will charge to represent you. Or email Andrea at [email protected]