Minor in Possession of Alcohol

Any person under the age of twenty-one (21) is prohibited from possessing alcohol and everyone is prohibited from providing alcohol to any individual who is under age.  This offense is often known as an MIP (minor in possession) or PAULA (possession of alcohol under the legal age).  What consitututes "possession" is where much of the litigation surrounding this offense occurs and the State bears the burden of proving that the underage individual "possessed" the alcohol.  Questions often arise, and the State often is unable to prove possession when the charges stem from an underage party or other scenario where other minors have access to the same alcohol.  Iowa law does allow an underage individual to consume alcohol "in a private home and with the knowledge, presence, and consent of the parent or guardian."

Violations for being a minor in possession of alcohol are classified as simple misdemeanors but have increasing penalties for each subsequent offense.  A first offense is punishable as a simple fine.  A second offense is punishable by a $500 fine and be required to complete a substance abuse evaluation or face suspension of driving privileges for up to one year.  A third offense is punishable by a $500 fine and loss of driving privileges for up to one year.  In addition to a fine and loss of license, a person convicted of MIP may also have consequences imposed through their school system.

However, all is not lost if you or someone you know has been convicted of a minor in possession of alcohol charge because the law provides the ability to expunge the charge from the persons record so long as two years has passed from the conviction date without any further tickets or arrests other than simple misdemeanor traffic tickets.  If you or someone you know has been charged with or convicted of MIP or a PAULA, it would beneficial to contact an attorney at GRL Law to see what we can do for you!

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