What Happens When You Get An MIC in Arizona?

For those under the age of 21, having a beer at a party may not seem like a big deal. When Arizona law enforcement gets involved, however, what seemed like just another beer at just another party can leave you saddled with a minor in consumption (MIC) or minor in possession (MIP) charge. 

Though this can be scary, if handled quickly and efficiently, by a MIC lawyer in Arizona, the charge also isn’t likely to ruin your life. Below, our Phoenix criminal defense attorneys at Belen Law Firm will cover what happens when you get a MIP or MIC in Arizona.

Which is Worse – MIP or MIC in Arizona?

Arizona minor in possession and Arizona minor in consumption charges hold several similarities.

Both charges:

  • are misdemeanors
  • involve alcohol and minors
  • can lead to charges that stay on your record
  • may also lead to possible jail time, fines, and driving suspensions

What is a MIP in Arizona? Arizona Revised Statute § 4-244(9) 

A MIP in Arizona focuses more on keeping minors out of establishments that openly serve alcohol. It also restricts minors from illegally purchasing alcohol or obtaining it illegally.

Arizona Revised Statute § 4-244(9) notes that it is illegal for a “person under the legal drinking age to buy, receive, have in the person’s possession or consume spirituous liquor.”

So, under the Arizona MIP law, simply having an alcoholic beverage in possession, if you’re under 21, is illegal.

Possible Penalties for a MIP in Arizona:  ARS 4-244(9)

Even holding an unopened beer or wine bottle can get you arrested in Arizona if you’re under 21. Unfortunately, most college students don’t grasp this concept until it’s too late.

Carrying a 6-pack for a buddy can lead to a Class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona.

Some of the penalties for a first-offense MIP in Arizona, as outlined by ARS 4-244(9), can include:

  • up to 180 days of jail time
  • community service and restitution
  • up to 3 years of probation
  • suspended license (for those under 18)
  • a Class 1 misdemeanor on your record
  • $4000+ in fines and fees
  • imposed counseling or alcohol classes

If there are more charges in addition to the MIP or MIC charges, the consequences could be far more serious. Additional charges that generally accompany MIPs in Arizona, charges like public urination, littering, etc. each carry their own consequences.

What is a MIC in Arizona? Arizona Revised Statutes § 4-244(41)

While a MIP in Arizona focuses on keeping minors away from alcohol, Arizona uses a MIC to limit the consumption of alcohol for minors.

Arizona Revised Statutes § 4-244(41) makes it illegal for a person under 21 “to have in the person’s body any spirituous liquor.”

This means that consumption of any amount, if you’re under 21, is illegal. In the state of Arizona, blood levels do not matter for MIC charges.

How Bad is a MIC?

If you’re charged with a MIC in Arizona, it could affect:

  • financial opportunities
  • career opportunities
  • college sports participation
  • academic acceptance

How Much is a MIC Ticket in Arizona?

With a conviction for consumption of alcohol under the age of 21, a MIC Ticket in Arizona could land you up to $2,500 in fines.

Is a MIC a Misdemeanor?

While the consumption of alcohol illegally in Arizona typically lands someone with probation, fines, alcohol classes and/or community service, it is still a misdemeanor that can be penalized with jail time.

However, this isn’t the worst of it…

Does a MIC Stay on Your Record?

The most potentially damaging consequence of being charged with a MIC or MIP in Arizona deals with your future. An experienced defense lawyer can potentially ensure the MIC or MIP charge does not negatively affect your future, any more than it has to.

A MIP or MIC in Arizona, even though considered a misdemeanor, can stay on your record if you do not reach out for legal advice from a Phoenix criminal defense attorney.

Legal offenses on your permanent record may be seen by future potential employers. This, obviously, could affect your career options, down the road.

What Happens if You Get a MIC?

Arizona MIC and MIP charges can both affect your future if handled incorrectly.

You do have options for fighting a MIP or MIC charge. And this is worth fighting.

Having an attorney represent you can make a difference. It can certainly change your case’s outcome.

At Belen Law Firm, we look at all the details and find the best defense for your case, specifically. For example, if the arresting officer misses a step in the paperwork, forgets to give Miranda rights (if arrested), etc., this can provide a reason to have your case totally dismissed. This is obviously the goal.

Potential Defenses for a MIP or MIC in Arizona

There are several viable defenses to MIP or MIC in Arizona. These include:

  • Constitutional violation – You’re protected against unreasonable searches, arrests, detainment, and even coercive questioning. So, if any of these apply to your case, they can provide grounds for dismissal. 
  • No criminal intent – Possession law requires that you must know what you have in your possession. Therefore, the prosecutor must prove your knowledge.
  • Alcohol belongs to someone else
  • Statutory Exceptions – The alcohol was consumed for religious reasons and is protected by the First Amendment

The list continues. There are several loopholes and defenses for those charged with MIPs or MICs in Arizona.

Not Guilty of a MIP or MIC in Arizona?

If you believe you are not guilty of the MIP or MIC charge, you have two options:

  • Get a new court date to meet with a prosecutor to explain why you believe you are not guilty. After the meeting, you may set your case for trial, or
  • Set your case for trial without first meeting with a prosecutor. You are entitled to ask for either a judge or jury to decide your case.

Free Consultations for MIP and MIC Charges

In Arizona, MIP and MIC charges can lead to serious consequences. Since you can’t expunge a MIP or MIC charge, a conviction can leave you or your child with a mark on their permanent record, as well as fines, probation, or possibly jail time. We offer free consultations for MIP and MIC charges in Phoenix. Call us at 602-715-0908! Belen Olmedo Guerra is a 24 hour criminal defense attorney.