Georgia law generally forbids an individual who is under the age of 21 to consume, possess or attempt to possess alcohol. Those who are charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol, or MIP, may be encouraged to remain silent and ask for an attorney. Anything that a person says to a police officer will likely be used against that person at some point during the legal process. To obtain a MIP conviction, a prosecutor must be able to prove that an individual was under the legal drinking age when cited.
Furthermore, it must be proven that the defendant had possessed, attempted to possess or had consumed alcohol. In many cases, those who are convicted of underage drinking or alcohol possession will be enrolled in a diversion program. They may also be required to pay a fine, perform community service or take part in an alcohol class. Individuals who comply with the terms of their sentences may have the charges removed from their criminal records.
If a person is charged with MIP, it may be helpful to hire a criminal defense attorney. It may be possible for an attorney to dispute eyewitness testimony or other key evidence that might have resulted in an individual being cited or taken into custody. It may also be possible to have evidence in a case suppressed before a trial can begin.
This might make it harder for a prosecutor to prove that a defendant violated the law. In some cases, a lack of evidence may provide an opportunity to negotiate a favorable plea deal or ask that a charge be dropped. If a matter does go to trial, disputing or suppressing evidence may make it easier to create reasonable doubt in the mind of a juror.