Are You An ASU Student Arrested For MIP/MIC?
Read This Before Entering Your Plea!

Main Differences Between MIP & MIC Charges

Let’s be real – most students at Arizona State University have tried alcohol at least once or twice, regardless of if they’re 21 yet or not. Despite its reputation for being a party school, you can still get arrested for underage drinking at ASU. The charge for drinking underage is a Minor in Possession or Minor in Consumption, also known as MIP and MIC. Getting a degree is already hard enough, especially if you have a job and other responsibilities, without adding a criminal case on your plate. An MIC/MIP conviction could have several negative consequences that will follow you for years after college. Our Arizona defense attorneys can offer high quality representation with payment options that can work with your student’s budget. Fill out our online form or call 480-833-8000 to schedule your free consultation. 

Main Differences Between MIP & MIC Charges in Arizona

Arizona Underage Drinking Laws

In Arizona, it is illegal to possess or consume alcohol under the age of 21. It is also illegal to sell or provide alcohol to someone who is under 21 years old. However, there are exceptions to this for religious and medicinal purposes. Underage medicinal or religious alcohol use cannot interfere with the public’s health and safety. An Arizona MIC/MIP is designated as a class 1 misdemeanor. In Arizona, there is no right to a jury trial for MIC or MIP charges on their own. If the case proceeds to trial, it will be conducted solely by the judge. This is also commonly referred to as a bench trial. In a case called Raye v. Jones, the state of Arizona decided that the penalties for these charges aren’t serious enough to warrant a jury trial.

A class 1 misdemeanor comes with strict penalties in Arizona. You can be sentenced to up to 180 days in jail and $4,575 in fines if convicted. You will need to complete community service, and up to 3 years of probation. You will also need to complete alcohol counseling and screening. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you may have restitution that you need to pay. In Arizona, if someone under the age of 18 is convicted of MIP, the judge has the discretion to suspend their driving privileges for up to 180 days.  Don’t face these consequences alone, contact our Arizona DUI Lawyers today for a free case evaluation.

What Is The Difference Between MIC & MIP?

These two charges are almost used interchangeably in Arizona, although they do have different meanings. Technically, MIP is the charge for having alcohol in your possession, and MIC is the charge for actually having alcohol in your system. That means you can be charged with MIP without ever actually drinking alcohol.

What exactly does “possession” mean when it comes to Arizona underage drinking? In Arizona, it means having direct physical control over alcohol. Arizona also allows prosecution under the doctrine of constructive possession. This type of possession is harder to prove than when the defendant is actually caught with alcohol on their person. However, police can still use this doctrine to arrest you for “possession” of alcohol when the alcohol is actually in your car, dorm room, etc.

Arizona Underage DUI

Arizona is the strictest state when it comes to DUI laws, and doesn’t mess around when it comes to underage drinking and driving. While typically the legal limit for driving is .08 BAC, Arizona has a zero tolerance policy for underage drivers. Anyone under the age of 21 can be charged with DUI in Arizona for any amount of alcohol in their system above 0 BAC. However, if the underage driver is arrested with a BAC under .08, they will be charged with what is known as a “baby DUI.” Unlike a standard DUI, a baby DUI conviction doesn’t come with mandatory jail time. However, someone who is under 21 but arrested with a BAC of .08 or higher will face the standard penalties that someone older than 21 would face. A standard DUI conviction in Arizona always comes with at least one day in jail.

Charges That Can Accompany MIP

Many people who are charged with MIP face that charge alone. Others are arrested in conjunction with other criminal charges. These can complicate your case and increase the penalties that you will face. Having extra charges can reduce the chances that the prosecutor will let you off with alcohol diversion courses.

Some of the potential charges that can accompany an MIP in Arizona include:
  • Disorderly conduct
  • DUI
  • False identification
  • Providing an incorrect name during arrest
  • Identity theft

How An Attorney Can Help With MIC/MIP Charges

After an MIC or MIP arrest, you will be required to appear in court. You have three choices in how to enter a plea for the charges against you: guilty, not guilty, or no contest. If you choose guilty or no contest (also known as nolo contendere), you are accepting the penalties for the charges against you. Not guilty means that you intend to fight the charges. An attorney can help you determine your chances if your case should go to trial, so you can enter your plea with confidence.

Pleading not guilty doesn’t automatically mean that your case will go to trial. There will be time leading up to your trial where you can negotiate with the prosecution. During this time, you can try to convince the prosecution to reduce or drop the charges against you, or agree to a plea bargain with minimal penalties. A private defense attorney can help you come up with defenses that will serve as leverage in these negotiations. Your attorney can track down evidence that supports your position and weakens the prosecution’s case against you. Your attorney might even consult with scientific experts, if appropriate given the facts of your case. There may have been issues in how the police obtained and maintained evidence in your case. Your Arizona DUI attorney can also review your case for details that may have infringed upon your constitutional rights. Your attorney can also help you negotiate a plea deal if you complete an alcohol diversion program early in the process. With diversion, you may be able to get off with some community service, completion of an alcohol course, and a reasonable fine. All of this will reduce wasted time and energy that could be spent on your education. For a free review of your case with an experienced Arizona defense attorney, call 602-661-0988.

Affordable Representation For ASU Students Charged With MIC/MIP

An MIC or MIP conviction could have a serious impact on your education and career. But with the right legal advocate, you may be able to have your charges reduced or dropped. This leaves you time to focus on your studies and moving on with your daily life. Our experienced Arizona defense team has experience with police and prosecution in the ASU area and more. We also offer payment options that can make it more affordable to retain a private defense attorney before you’re out in the real world earning a real paycheck. Don’t procrastinate after an MIC or MIP arrest in Arizona. Call or use our online form to request your free consultation with our Arizona criminal defense team as soon as possible. Our free, discreet consultations can be held over the phone for your convenience.

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