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MIP Requires More Evidence Than Just Intoxication

When defending clients against DUI charges, I oftentimes deal with numerous accompanying charges like driving while suspended, transporting an open container, no insurance, or minor in possession. As a criminal defense attorney,I want to talk a little about minor in possession charges, otherwise known as MIP.

An MIP is a charge given to anyone under 21 who is found to possess, consume, obtain, purchase, or attempt to purchase alcohol. It is a class C misdemeanor, punishable with a fine up to $500, community service, and treatment/education programs regarding alcohol and drugs. Furthermore, an MIP conviction can result in the loss of driving privileges or other restrictions.

These cases are often times very defendable by an experienced defense lawyer, due to the lack of evidence. Some officers think that just because the underage person is intoxicated, that is enough. Not true for an MIP. There must be evidence that the person consumed or possessed the alcohol in that jurisdiction or venue. Kansas Appeals courts have clarified that there must be evidence regarding the venue and jurisdiction and that intoxication alone is insufficient! Unfortunately, this will sometimes require a trial to deal with the charge as some prosecutors often aren't willing to just dismiss such charges without a fight. The cases I found on point include City of Abilene v. Mills, State v. jones, and State v. Flinshpaugh.