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One of the most common charges made against young people in the United States is a minor in possession (MIP) charge. 

It’s a serious charge that could have financial consequences, as well as detrimental effects on your child’s future, including severe academic repercussions and difficulty obtaining a job or internship.

So, what can you do if your child receives an MIP? In this article, I will elaborate on the differences between MIP statutes in Mississippi and Tennessee and how you and your child should proceed with an MIP case in both states.

What exactly is an MIP?

MIP charges can include the possession, transportation or purchase of alcohol by a person under 21 years of age. This charge also includes the use of a fake ID to buy alcohol.

In Mississippi and Tennessee, possession of alcohol involves having any visible or non-visible beer, wine, mixed drinks, or hard liquor in a public place. In Tennessee, possessing alcohol in a private location is illegal as well. Both states define the transportation of alcohol as having alcohol in a vehicle while traveling.

What are the punishments for an MIP conviction?

Punishments for MIP convictions differ between Mississippi and Tennessee, although an MIP is considered a misdemeanor in both states. If your child is convicted of an MIP in Mississippi, they could face a $200-$500 fine and up to 30 days of community service. Instead of these penalties, however, a Mississippi judge can suspend your child’s license for up to 90 days.

In Tennessee, penalties include a fine of $50-$200, up to 30 days in jail, license suspension for up to one year, and/or 20 hours of community service. Additionally, if your child is a university student, their university will most likely impose academic punishments.

In both Mississippi and Tennessee, the punishments for an MIP involving possession and transportation remain the same for an MIP involving a fake ID. It’s tempting for students to buy a fake ID, but please stress to your child that simply owning one is considered a misdemeanor in both states.

What happens after being charged with an MIP?

After being formally charged with an MIP, your child will either immediately be arrested and taken to jail or given a formal notice to appear in a court of law, depending on the circumstances. Tennessee splits MIP charges into adult (18-20 years of age) and juvenile (18 years of age and younger) charges. Juveniles are tried in a juvenile court instead of a criminal court.

In Mississippi, your child will be tried in a municipal or a justice court. For the best outcome in an MIP case, I recommend contacting an in-state attorney, someone who will be highly familiar with state alcohol laws and court procedures.

Can an MIP conviction be erased from public records?

Yes, MIP convictions and charges can be erased from your student’s record.

In Tennessee, your child or their attorney can petition the court to erase the MIP conviction record after six months from the date of violation.

In Mississippi, either your child or their attorney may petition the court at least one year after the MIP charges were dismissed or after your child paid all fines, completed all community service, completed their license suspension period or served time in jail.

MIP charges are significant and should not be taken lightly, so your child needs an attorney who will fight to get the outcome they deserve. As a skilled criminal defense attorney with strong experience in MIP cases, I am ready to advocate on your child’s behalf. If your loved one is facing an MIP charge, contact me today to discuss your case.