Illegal Possession or Consumption of Ethyl Alcohol by an Underage Person – (C.R.S. 18-13-122) is better known in Colorado as “Minor in Possession” of alcohol, or simply MIP. This statue makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume or even possess alcohol in Denver, Adams County, Littleton, Aurora, or anywhere in Colorado.
When the weather turns cooler in Jefferson and Arapahoe County, we start to see the numbers of MIP cases decline. That does not mean underage teens do not drink in the colder months, they are just a little less visible to police since they are not outside.
The life-long impact on children that get hooked on drinking can be dramatic. This problem has been around for a long time, but the consequences have increased. Parents often do not take the problem seriously enough because they remember experimenting with drinking. But, as a parent, you should know police will not give you the option of disciplining your child at home. Today, the government wants to play the role of parent and tell everyone of your child’s record.
The first conviction for a MIP in Douglas County can result in a fine of not more than $250.00, and up to 24 hours of Useful Public Service as defined under C.R.S. 18-1.3-507. The court may also order an evaluation, alcohol education program, or treatment at the defendant’s expense. If it is a second offense, the maximum fine doubles to $500.00, and the option for the court to order an evaluation and education/treatment goes away. The court will order it. Upon the third conviction in Adams, Weld or Denver County, a Minor in Possession of Alcohol conviction is treated as a class 2 misdemeanor with even more serious consequences, like jail.
Any criminal record today is a handicap to your child’s future. A criminal conviction of any kind, including an MIP, may keep your child from entering the military. It may also make them more closely scrutinized if they are falsely accused of a crime in the future. Even after a record is sealed, law enforcement can still access criminal records.
After 20 years working with clients accused of Illegal Possession or Consumption of Alcohol by Underage Person, I recommend three things. Parents, pay attention to what your children are doing and remind them of the physical and legal dangers of drinking before 21. Tell your children if they are questioned by the police about drinking, they should respectfully decline any request to take a breathalyzer test. And lastly, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us at 303-731-0719. Together we can protect your future.