Georgia law is strict regarding alcohol possession and consumption by individuals deemed as minors. Unfortunately, everyone makes mistakes however, sometimes they can result in criminal charges. When this happens, an otherwise ordinary young person can find him or herself embroiled in the criminal justice system. One of the most common elements of juvenile law is minor in possession (MIP) laws. MIP laws state that anyone under the age of 21 purchasing, possessing, or consuming alcohol is disobeying the law. Further, anyone found to be supplying alcohol to minors is also subject to criminal charges.
Penalties for MIP Violations
Depending on the nature of the incident leading to arrest, and the individual’s criminal record, MIP charges can range from minor to severe. The penalties for violating Georgia’s MIP laws include the following:
- First Offense – For a first offense, an MIP conviction can result in fines of up to $300, up to six months in jail, and up to a six-month suspension of driving privileges.
- Second Offense or Subsequent Offense – For a second or subsequent offense, a conviction can result in fines of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, and one-year suspension of driving privileges.
In addition to these penalties, it is common for minors to be ordered to attend alcohol or drug treatment classes, community service, probation, or rehabilitation. The only exceptions to the MIP laws are in the case of a minor consuming alcohol as part of a religious ceremony, for medicinal purposes, or under the supervision of a parent or guardian within the home.
Georgia’s Zero Tolerance
Georgia is considered a “zero tolerance” state, meaning that the standards for minors are different from that of adults. For example, for adults 21 years of age and older, the legal limit blood alcohol content level (BAC) is .08%. For minors, the legal limit is .02%. This is especially damaging in the event of automobile accidents or arrests for driving under the influence (DUI). The penalties for DUI for a minor include:
- First Conviction – The penalties for a first time conviction of DUI include fines of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail, 20 hours of community service, and a $210 fee for reinstatement of driving privileges.
- Second Conviction – The penalties for a second DUI conviction include fines ranging from $600-$1,000, up to one year in jail, one year suspension of driving privileges, $201 fee for reinstatement of driving privileges, alcohol treatment, and mandatory installation of ignition interlock device.
Providing Alcohol to Minors
It is important to also address the issue of providing alcohol to minors. When adults provide alcohol to minors in a way that violates the law, both the minor and the adult are subject to criminal charges. Anyone charged with providing alcohol to a minor is subject to strict penalties including:
- Fines ranging from $750-$1,000
- Up to one year in jail
- Revocation of professional/business licenses
Do Not Let Georgia’s MIP Laws Ruin your Future
Anyone who has been accused of providing alcohol to a minor, or possessing or consuming alcohol as a minor should be swift in obtaining legal representation. A conviction for MIP violations can result in loss of driving privileges, a criminal record, increased insurance premiums, and other detriments. Do not let your MIP charges affect the course of your life. Call Abt Law Firm, LLC today to keep your record clean at 1-800-NOJAIL-9 (1-800-665-2459). Contact us immediately to schedule a free consultation of your MIP case.