MIP (Minor in Possession) in Colorado-by Andrew Nolan Attorney at Law
For the last 20 years, Country Jam has been a huge weekend in Mesa County, not only for the 4-day country music festival, but also for the number of MIP citations that have been issued. For example, last year alone 80 festival goers were issued citations for under-aged drinking. The penalties for a first time conviction for a minor in possession or consumption of alcohol is a fine of not more than two hundred and fifty dollars, the court can order that the defendant perform up to twenty-four hours of useful public service, require that the minor complete an alcohol evaluation or assessment along with an alcohol education program or alcohol treatment program. Furthermore, for a second or subsequent offence, the Colorado Department of Revenue will revoke the minor’s drivers license for three months up to one year for a third MIP conviction.
While we would encourage those who are not 21 years of age not to drink, if you do find yourself either being charged with or have already been issued a citation for a MIP there are a few things that you should know.
During the Country Jam weekend, you should be aware that you are being watched. There Liquor Enforcement Task Force is made up of officers from multiple law enforcement agencies whose sole purpose is to catch people who are underage the age of 21 in possession of or consuming alcohol. They are everywhere! You will not be able to pick them out of a crowd – they are undercover and in plain clothes. They will be walking through beer tents, the campgrounds and the concert area. If you are under 21 and have been drinking or in possession of alcohol.
- Never admit that you have been drinking. You have a right to remain silent – that means shut up.
- Do not allow the officers to perform any “tests” on you. They may ask to look at your eyes or to blow into a portable breathalyzer, Don’t do it.
- Never allow law enforcement to search you or your belongings. They may ask to look in your bag or to smell your drink cup. If there is alcohol or anything else illegal in your stuff, say NO.
- Ask to speak to an attorney.
If you are contacted by any law enforcement, these are the most common mistakes that we have seen people make:
- They provide law enforcement a false name, a false ID, or a false date of birth. By doing this you could be charged with criminal impersonation which is a class 6 felony and punishable by 12-18 in PRISON, one year of parole, and a fine from $1,000-$100,000. What starts out as a minor offense can quickly turn into a major life changing offense.
- Do not admit you have been drinking. You cannot talk your way out of it, even if you tell them that you only had 1 sip, the State of Colorado has a zero tolerance policy toward minors consuming ANY alcohol.
- Do not try to run from law enforcement. If you do run when you get caught you could be charged with Obstructing which is a class 2 misdemeanor.
If you are cited at Country Jam, not only will you be charged with a MIP, they will confiscate your pass and you will be kicked off the property and not allowed back.
If you or your son or daughter has been charged with a MIP – CALL PETERS & NOLAN at (970) 243-HELP (4357) immediately
Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.
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