As a parent, we always want to do everything we can to protect our children. When they hurt, we hurt. When they are sad, we are sad. And, when they are in trouble, we want to do everything we can to help them.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do to help your child is to call a lawyer. If cops charge your child as a minor in possession (MIP), they will face serious charges. They are still so young that you want to do what you can to help them. You don’t want mistakes they make as a teenager to follow them the rest of their lives.
MIP Charges in South Carolina
What are MIP charges? The law in South Carolina prohibits minors from buying alcohol. If police catch someone under 21 with alcohol, they will be charged as an MIP. MIP applies if cops see your child doing any of the following:
- Buying alcohol
- Attempting to buy alcohol
- Consuming alcohol
- Having alcohol in their possession
There really is no legal defense to MIP. If you are not 21, you are not allowed to have alcohol. The legal drinking age in every state is 21. There is no disputing that. However, there are ways to fight MIP charges.
If police charge your child as an MIP, you need to call an MIP lawyer in Clemson. They know the law. They have experience handling these types of cases. You want to rely on a professional. Your child’s future is at stake.
MIP Penalties Which an MIP lawyer in Clemson Can Fight
As with all criminal charges, there are penalties associated with MIP. The consequences depend on the circumstances. There are two types of MIP charges in South Carolina. They are:
- Misrepresenting your age. This applies when your teen lies about his or her age to buy alcohol. It also applies if they try to gain entrance to a bar or club by misrepresenting their age. The penalties for misrepresenting your age to procure alcohol are:
- Fines from $100 to $200
- Jail time of up to 30 days
- Illegally buying, consuming or possessing alcohol. As opposed to just lying about your age, this offense involves actually having alcohol. If cops catch your teen drinking or buying alcohol, your child will be charged with this violation. The same is true if they are caught with alcohol in their possession. Often times, this is the case when alcohol is found during routine traffic stops. It is also common when cops break up college or high school parties. The penalties for this offense are:
- Fines from $100 to $200
- Jail up to 30 days
- Both fines and jail time
- Mandatory attendance at alcohol classes – this will cost an additional $150. The course must be approved by the court and is 8 hours long.
You want to have an experienced MIP attorney handle your case. They know the law and understand how to get the best resolution for your child.
Exceptions to MIP Charges in South Carolina
As with many laws, there are exceptions to MIP charges. South Carolina has outlined what these exceptions are. If any of these exceptions apply, your MIP lawyer will argue to have the charges dismissed. The exceptions are:
- Minors over 18 can serve and clear away drinks. They just cannot mix them.
- Can consume alcohol if enrolled in courses such as culinary arts. If the alcohol is used in cooking, there may be an exception.
- Minors under 21 can drink at home with their parents’ permission.
- Minors can consume alcohol as part of a religious ceremony.
Contact a MIP Attorney in Clemson, SC
There are ways to ensure that your teen avoids jail time. If they are charged with MIP, their MIP attorney will negotiate with the prosecutor. They will argue that the best punishment is a treatment program or probation.
Even if your attorney is able to help your teen avoid jail time, there will still be costs. You will have to pay court fees and fines. You will likely have to pay a fee for an alcohol prevention education program.
If you or your teen have been charged with MIP, contact a Clemson MIP attorney immediately. They will work hard to get the charges dismissed. They will try to negotiate with the prosecutor to help you avoid any jail time.
Even though MIP doesn’t seem like a serious offense, it can be costly. It can also lead to legal issues down the road.