BloomLegalTV: Minor in Possession
Posted on Oct 8, 2011 in Bloom Legal TV
Today we’re going to discuss MIPs, or Minor in Possession of Alcohol. This has certainly been a hot button issue in New Orleans for some time, as Louisiana’s famed drinking culture is deeply ingrained in the history of the state. Recently there has been a spike in these cases, as all across the country law enforcement officials are cracking down on underage drinking. As everyone should know by now, although Louisiana did famously resist changing the age of legal consumption from 18 to 21 until 1996, the legal age is 21.
Recently, high volumes of news reports about hazing, high schoolers dying of alcohol poisoning, drunk driving accidents, etc. have resulted in federal grants from the US government to crack down on high school/college drinking. There is even specific federal funding now for an MIP task force that raids various bars, specifically in New Orleans. Many kids attending Loyola, Tulane, Dillard, Xavier, and University of New Orleans are now getting drawn up on charges of minor in possession. An MIP usually does not come with handcuffs and jail; it’s called a summons and looks like a ticket. The ticket is an affidavit for your conviction or arrest. So it’s not just like a traffic ticket, and shouldn’t be treated as such. An MIP is a misdemeanor and needs to be treated specifically and carefully, just like any other criminal case.
Often times, when charged with an MIP, people will end up just paying the fine, $250, $350, $400, and that’s okay; if you’ve paid you can leave, and you won’t have a bench warrant after. What many people don’t realize though, is that by paying the fine you’ve just pled guilty to a misdemeanor conviction, which may come back and affect you later. Do the police officers want to attend this? They are witnesses. Were you actually seen, is there a picture of you drinking alcohol? Is there a video camera? Do they have evidence of alcohol? Was there a red cup in front of you? Was that a Coke-Cola? Or is that a beer? There are always lots of variables involved in an MIP case. That’s why it’s so important to hire an attorney who can look at the specific facts, and make the city prove their case against you.
My name is Seth Bloom, and I can help. Give Bloom Legal a call today at 504-599-9997 for your consultation. Each and every case is completely different, and you should have a lawyer review each and every case. Nothing I say today should be used as actual legal advice. If you have any other questions, give us a call.