College can be an exciting time in your life, a chance to explore your independence and meet new people while pursuing knowledge for your future. It also is a time when there are many temptations that could lead you down a path you did not intend to go. If you are a student at ASU or will be this fall, it is important to understand the laws regarding alcohol and minors in Arizona. A minor in possession or consumption charge, MIP or MIC, and conviction could impact your life and hinder you from achieving your goals.
You should know that Arizona has some of the toughest alcohol-related laws in the country. Whether it is driving under the influence (DUI), boating under the influence, or a minor in possession/consumption charge, the laws here are strictly enforced. While you may be responsible enough not to become intoxicated or try to drive after drinking, if you are a minor and even have possession of alcohol, you could be facing serious consequences.
Arizona Minor in Possession Law
Did you know that even holding an unopened beer could get you arrested if you are a minor in Arizona? Unfortunately, many ASU students do not know this fact until it is too late. Under ARS 4-244(9), if you are a minor and have possession of alcohol, you can be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor. Just carrying a six-pack for a friend or holding an alcoholic beverage at a party can prove to be a life-altering decision. If convicted of a minor in possession, or MIP, in Arizona, it could lead to:
- Up to 180 days in jail
- A class 1 misdemeanor on your permanent record
- Over $4000 in fines
- Imposed alcohol classes or counseling
- License suspension for those under 18 years of age
- Up to three years of probation
- Community service and restitution
Plus, you could also face disciplinary action from ASU or any other school you may be attending. The black mark on your permanent record could impact future opportunities in your life, including the career you are pursuing by attending ASU.
Arizona Minor in Consumption Law
Like a MIP, a minor in consumption, or MIC, in Arizona is strictly enforced and a common charge to occur for ASU and other college students in the Tempe and Phoenix areas. You do not need to be intoxicated to receive a MIC; any consumption of alcohol by a minor is against the law under ARS 4-244(41). There are only a few exceptions, like medicinal or religious purposes, that are allowed, but are rarely the case when an ASU student is charged with a MIC.
Under Arizona law, if you are convicted of a MIC, you are facing a class 2 misdemeanor. If you were in possession of alcohol as well, you could face a MIP, a class 1 misdemeanor. For a MIC conviction alone, you may have the following consequences:
- Up to 120 days in jail
- Over $1,000 in fines
- Up to two years of probation
- Possible driver’s license suspension
Just a sip of an alcoholic drink is all it takes if you are under the age of 21 in Arizona. The law is strict, and one misstep can impact your permanent record and could even jeopardize your education and career.
Importance of Fighting MIP and MIC
If you ask around the ASU campus, you will likely hear about other students that have been charged with a MIP or MIC. The police on campus, in Tempe and Phoenix, are diligent about issuing these tickets to students that are caught drinking or that are in possession of alcohol. This is a large revenue source and many students just plead guilty, thinking they do not have any options.
You do have options and fighting a MIP or MIC charge is worthwhile. Having an attorney on your side can make a difference and change the outcome of your case. At Matthew Lopez Law, our team will look at every detail of the case and find the best defense for the client. If the arresting officer missed even one step in the paperwork or procedures, it could be a reason for dismissal. We look at the evidence and find the best way to help our client obtain a favorable outcome. Without an attorney to fight your case, you are most likely going to be convicted and suffer the consequences of one bad decision, including a misdemeanor on your permanent record.
ASU Minor in Possession or Consumption Lawyers in Tempe
If you find yourself charged with a minor in possession or consumption when attending ASU, contact our team at Matthew Lopez Law. We will be happy to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and your options. We have offices in Tempe, Lake Havasu City and Apache Junction for your convenience.