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When college partying leads to criminal charges

For many CU students, drinking can seem like a rite of passage. Being under 21 does not keep many students from indulging at parties or while tailgating before a Buffaloes game. However, the risk of underage drinking is getting caught.

Minor in possession (MIP) charges are common. Chances are you know someone who has gotten an MIP. Even so, they carry consequences that should not be taken lightly.

What is an MIP?

Minor in possession laws in Colorado state that anyone under the age of 21 who is caught possessing or consuming alcohol or marijuana can face penalties. Police don't actually have to see an underage person drinking or consuming pot in order to charge you with MIP. All they need is evidence that you have possessed alcohol or marijuana. That can be as simple as demonstrating that you displayed signs of being intoxicated, or demonstrating that you held it in your hand.

Consequences of MIP charges

The consequences of MIP charges can include fines, probation, community service, and classes. These consequences are imposed separately by the court and by CU's Office of Student Conduct. Multiple MIP charges result in more serious consequences, which can include suspension or expulsion.

Driver's license consequences of an MIP

In addition to fines, community service and alcohol programs, an MIP conviction can also put your driver's license at risk. The potential driver's license consequences become more serious with multiple offenses.

Can you go to jail for an MIP?

While most people do not go to jail for an MIP, it is possible if you have several convictions. If you are convicted for a third or subsequent MIP, it could be possible that you might be required to spend a brief period of time in jail.

What to do if you are charged with MIP

When charged with MIP, many people choose to plead guilty by paying the fine and accepting any additional consequences. However, pleading guilty to an MIP can leave a potentially harmful blemish on your record. In order to protect yourself from the short- and long-term consequences of a minor in possession charge, it is wise to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. There are many ways to challenge MIP charges, and an attorney can help you understand your options.

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