Virginia Minor In Possession MIP/MIC of Alcohol Program
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What is a Minor In Possession MIP Alcohol Charge in Virginia?
In Virginia 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.
Virginia MIP Alcohol Penalties
Possession is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):
- private residence
- AND spouse
- OR ELSE parent/guardian
POSSESSION: Virginia law provides for two separate family exceptions. First, Virginia permits persons under twenty-one to possess alcoholic beverages due to such person’s “making a delivery of alcoholic beverages by order of his parent.” APIS interprets the phrase “by order of his parent” as providing for parental consent. Va. Code Ann. § 4.1-305. Second, Virginia permits underage possession when an alcoholic beverage is provided to an underage guest in a private residence and the underage guest is “accompanied by a parent, guardian, or spouse who is twenty-one years of age or older.” Va. Code Ann. §§ 4.1-305, 4.1-200. The second exception is limited to specific locations, but the first one is not. Because at least one of these exceptions is not conditioned on a specific location, APIS codes the Parent/Guardian exception with a check mark rather than a plus sign.
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 Virginia’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.