Under Georgia's alcohol laws, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess alcoholic beverages. The law actually prohibits five specific types of conduct:
1. Furnishing alcohol to a minor
2. Purchase, attempt to purchase, or possess alcohol if a minor
3. Misrepresent age in an attempt to obtain alcohol if a minor
4. Obtaining alcohol for minors
5. Misrepresent identity or use a false I.D. to obtain alcohol if a minor
For minors, these charges are misdemeanor charges and can become high and aggravated misdemeanors in certain situations. Additionally, in addition to any fines, jail time and other conditions imposed by a court, the driver's license of a minor will be suspended for 6 months on a first conviction and 12 months for a second conviction of attempting to purchase alcohol. Courts may also order anyone convicted to complete a Georgia Risk Reduction Program (DUI School) within 120 days of being convicted.
While MIP charges are serious and can remain on your criminal record forever, Georgia law does allow for alternatives to guilty pleas for first offenders. Also, prosecutors sometimes have programs available to first time offenders that will keep an MIP off your record. If you have been charged with an MIP, call our office to discuss your situation and your best defense. Strategy and options will vary depending on what court your case is pending in and we will be happy to discuss this with you.