Everything You Need to Know About Your MIP

A Minor In Possession (MIP) charge is one of the most common charges given to minors in the U.S. It may seem like ‘not that big of a deal,’ but if you ignore the court-ordered sentencing, a minor MIP charge can evolve into big troubles down the road for you.


What Is A Minor In Possession (MIP) Charge?

According to Colorado Code C.R.S. 18-13-122 "Any person under twenty-one years of age who possesses or consumes ethyl alcohol anywhere in the state of Colorado commits illegal possession or consumption of ethyl alcohol by an underage person." With ‘possession’ being defined as, "a person [who] has or holds any amount anywhere on his[or her] person, or that a person owns or has custody of, or has within his[or her] immediate presence and control."


What If I Wasn’t Drunk?

Unfortunately, being sober is not an apt defense for a minor in possession charge. As the charges sound, the prosecutor merely has to prove that the alcohol was in your possession, not that you were drinking it, or even planning on drinking it.


What Can I Expect For A Plea Offer?

Typically, the District Attorney will offer you a Deferred Judgement, meaning that you must complete the court requirements (i.e. alcohol education classes, stay out of legal trouble, pay all fines, etc.) for around a year. After a year has passed, the case will be dismissed, and you are able to petition the court to seal the record of the case.

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Can I Get An MIP Expunged From My Record?


The short answer is, yes. If you are convicted with an MIP, you may have the potential to have your record sealed one year after the charge, if you have not been arrested, charged, or convicted with any crime throughout that year. That being said, no legal case is cut-and-dry, so it may be worth consulting with an attorney to try and see if you can get the charge expunged.


Will My License Be Suspended?

There’s a possibility that the Colorado DMV revokes your license, but this no longer happens by default after a conviction. The DMV holds the right to revoke your license for up to three months for a first offense. Also, if you do not follow through with an order to complete public service, or you have a prior offense on your record the DMV may revoke your license.


What Are Some Defenses That Could Work?

There are numerous defenses that you can use to fight your way out of an MIP charge. They include (but are not limited to):

  1. The alcohol was possessed/consumed while the minor was on private property with the consent of the owner, and the alcohol was possessed/consumed with the consent of the minor’s legal guardian, who was also present at the time of possession/consumption.
  2. The alcohol in a minor’s body was due solely to the ingestion of a confectionary, or a substance not intended for human consumption (i.e. rubbing alcohol).
  3. The possession/consumption occurred for a religious reason, protected by the first amendment of the Constitution.


If you found this article helpful, check out our resource page with more like it.  

Updated: October 18th, 2020

Revised: May 16, 2022, 3:32 a.m.
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