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]