Drinking or even possessing alcohol while under the legal drinking age of 21 is a serious offense in South Carolina. If you or your child are facing minor in possession charges in South Carolina, the future might seem scary and uncertain.
At Shealey Law Firm, we understand the delicate nature of MIP charges and the ways they can affect a young person’s life for many years to come. Contact our Columbia student defense lawyers today and learn more about what these charges entail and how we can help you secure a favorable outcome in your MIP case.
Laws Surrounding Minor in Possession Charges in South Carolina
Minor in possession of alcohol laws prohibit the buying, possession or consumption of alcohol for individuals under the age of 21. These laws also exist to punish adult offenders who provide alcohol to minors. Additional charges may apply to underage individuals using fake or altered IDs in an attempt to procure alcohol.
It is important to know that there are exceptions in which a person under the age of 21 may lawfully handle alcohol. These include:
- Possession for employment
- Possession for education
- Possession for compliance checks
- Possession for religious ceremonies
If you or your child receives MIP charges while handling alcohol for lawful purposes, your MIP lawyer can help you build a strong case based on that fact.
Penalties for Possessing Alcohol as a Minor
The first question that crosses your mind when facing minor in possession charges in South Carolina might be, is a MIP a misdemeanor or a felony? Though an MIP is a misdemeanor offense, there are still harsh penalties for a conviction.
A minor in possession of alcohol charge comes with a fine of up to $200 and the possibility of 30 days of jail time. The minor may also face a license suspension and must complete a mandatory alcohol education program. Misrepresentation of age in order to purchase alcohol can also entail a separate fine and jail sentence.
Other Consequences of Minor in Possession of Alcohol Charges
Receiving minor in possession charges in South Carolina means having a genuine criminal offense on the individual’s record. This could impact their ability to qualify for student loans, college admission eligibility and even future employment opportunities.
A criminal conviction can also have severe consequences for a minor’s mental health. When a momentary lapse in judgment results in a long-term criminal record and jail time, a minor might experience depression or feelings of guilt that are difficult to overcome. A parent’s support, professional therapy services and a legal defense that results in an acquittal of MIP charges can all go a long way toward safeguarding a minor’s future and their mental health.
Minor in Possession Charges FAQs
Will my parents be notified if I am arrested under MIP charges?
It is up to the arresting officer’s discretion whether they will notify your parents regarding your MIP charges. While there is no requirement for officers to contact your parents if you are 18 years of age or older, it is certainly possible or even likely.
Will I be charged if I go to a party and don’t drink?
Attending a party at which you have access to alcohol is a case of constructive possession. Even if you do not have a drink in your hand or alcohol in your system when the police arrive at the scene, you can receive MIP charges just for being in accessible proximity to alcohol.
Is my license automatically suspended if I receive MIP charges?
You may face a license suspension if the police charge you with drinking and driving in addition to your MIP charges. If you were not driving while under the influence, however, you will not face any consequences in relation to your driver’s license.
Contact Our Columbia Student Defense Lawyers About Minor in Possession Charges in South Carolina
Many MIP cases stem from a single lapse in judgment, pressure from external sources or a simple misinterpretation of circumstances. We at Shealey Law Firm are eager to provide the defense that you or your child deserves in order to secure a better future. Contact us today by calling 803-590-3917 or using our online form to learn more about how we can help with minor in possession charges in South Carolina.