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    Colorado Minor In Possession Laws 18-13-122


    Introduction – For a young person -one of the first exposures to the criminal justice system – is a Minor In Possession Charge – For a first offense the approach is compassionate and understanding – ending most often in a diversion program… on a second or third offense – things will change.

    Colorado has adopted a zero tolerance stance on underage drinking.  As a result, the charge of Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP) is becoming common-place, especially on college campuses.

    Under Colorado law, Minor in Possession or Consumption of Alcohol, (MIP MIC) Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-13-122, is punishable by a fine up to $250 for a first conviction, $500 for a second conviction, and a jailable Class 2 Misdemeanor for third and subsequent convictions. Penalties also include up to twenty-four hours community service, an alcohol evaluation or assessment, and an alcohol education program or alcohol treatment program, all at the defendant’s expense.

    In addition, the Colorado Department of Revenue may revoke the driver’s license of any person convicted of Minor in Possession or Consumption of Alcohol. For the first conviction, the driver’s license revocation will be for three months unless you complete the required alcohol class. For the second conviction, the revocation will be for six months, and for any third or subsequent conviction, one year. (Third and subsequent convictions also become jailable misdemeanors.) For more information about driver’s license consequences, see the Colorado Revised Statutes Section 42-2-125 or contact the Colorado Department of Revenue. You must take certain steps to reinstate your driver’s license, including paying a reinstatement fee and retaking both the written and the driving tests.

     Colorado law 18-13-122 states:

     “Any person under twenty-one years of age who possesses or consumes ethyl alcohol anywhere in the state of Colorado commits illegal possession or consumption of ethyl alcohol by an underage person.” According to the Colorado legislature, possession of alcohol means that “a person has or holds any amount of ethyl alcohol anywhere on his person, or that a person owns or has custody of ethyl alcohol, or has ethyl alcohol within his immediate presence and control.” Evidence may include that the defendant was under twenty-one and possessed or consumed alcohol in Colorado, or evidence that the defendant was under twenty-one and manifested characteristics of intoxication or impairment while in Colorado. Examples of these characteristics include the smell of alcohol on the minor’s breath, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, etc.

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    If a police officer, suspecting you of Minor in Consumption of Alcohol, asks you to take a portable breath test in order to determine whether you have consumed alcohol, you have the right to refuse this test.

    There are several defenses to Minor in Possession or Consumption of Alcohol. These include: (1) The alcohol was possessed or consumed while the minor was legally on private property with the knowledge and consent of the owner or possessor of the property and the alcohol was possessed or consumed with the consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian who was present; (2) The alcohol in the minor’s body was due solely to the ingestion of a confectionery or a substance not intended for human ingestion (see the Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-13-122 for further information); or (3) The possession or consumption took place for religious purposes protected by the first amendment to the United States Constitution.

    Also – If you are convicted of Minor in Possession or Consumption of Alcohol, you may be able to have your record sealed one year after the conviction, if you have not been arrested for, charged with or convicted of any crime during that year.

    If you are a parent, you are probably very concerned about the impact of your child having a criminal record, especially if he or she has no other record of criminal activity. A criminal record can negatively impact a person’s life for years to come, possibly making it more difficult to get a job, or limit a persons future opportunities in other ways.

    Colorado is also one of the states where adults can be charged with allowing alcohol consumption to minors on their property. Adults do not even have to supply the alcohol to be charged. It is very possible to be accused of this offense without even knowing there was underage drinking going on in your home or on your property.

    Those charged with MIP will often plead guilty to the charge “just to get it over with.” This can be a very costly mistake. Remember: many prosecutors and judges make their reputations by recommending the harshest sentences possible, no matter the individual circumstances of the case.

    Free Consultation

    To discuss your Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP) case with H. Michael Steinberg, please call (303) 627-77777  or fill out the Contact form on this site.  From our office in Denver, we represent clients throughout the Front Range of Colorado.

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    H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
    Attorney and Counselor at Law
    The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
    A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
    Colorado Criminal Law For Over 40 Years.
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    8400 East Prentice Ave, Penthouse 1500
    Greenwood Village, Colorado, 80111
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