Maryland Minor In Possession MIP/MIC of Alcohol Program
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What is a Minor In Possession MIP Alcohol Charge in Maryland?
In Maryland a Minor in Possession, or a MIP, (also referred to as a PAULA, Possession of Alcohol or Consumption (MIC) Under the Legal Age) is a criminal offense, typically a misdemeanor. In some states, depending on the county in which the person is charged, the MIP may also be charged as an offense. Anyone who is under the age of 21 and possesses alcoholic beverages in the United States, with the exception of special circumstances, is violating the law of the state.
Maryland MIP Alcohol Penalties
Possession is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):
- private residence
- AND EITHER parent/guardian OR spouse
Maryland’s exception includes members of an individual’s “immediate family” when the alcoholic beverage is furnished and possessed “in a private residence or within the curtilage of the residence.” APIS interprets the phrase “immediate family” as including a spouse. See Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 10-117(c)(1) beginning October 1, 2002, and Md. Ann. Code 1957 art. 27, § 401A(c)(1) prior to October 1, 2002.
Punishments for minors in possession vary greatly from state-to-state. Since alcohol enforcement (and the establishment of drinking ages) is the responsibility of the individual states, only local and state agencies can legally write a minors in possession citation. As such, each state levies its own fines and punishments for a minors in possession.
In some states, a simple first-time minors in possession without any other circumstances (such as driving or public intoxication) may only involve a fine of $100–500. Often fines are reduced or eliminated provided the person convicted completes a program such as alcohol awareness, probation, or community service. In some states, a fine is eliminated, supplemented or accompanied with a loss of the accused driver license for a period of time ranging from 30 days to 12 months. For example, violation of Maryland’s Business & Professions Code Section 25662, regarding persons under 21 in possession of alcohol, carries a punishment of $250 and a mandatory revocation of their driver’s license for one year in accordance with Vehicle Code Section 13202.5.
Subsequent offenses or a person with a preexisting criminal record may frequently receive a full fine, or in some extreme cases, several days in jail. In many cases a third MIP may result in a loss of the defendant’s driver’s license until the age of 21.
Maryland Minor in Possession of Alcohol