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Understanding minor in possession (MIP) charges

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

In South Dakota, when a minor is found in possession of alcohol or drugs, they may face a “minor in possession” charge. Also referred to as MIP laws, these outline what happens if minors are found in this situation. 

Learning more about MIP laws and the potential penalties can help you better understand what this means for you (as a parent) and your teen. 

The purpose of MIP laws

The reason MIP laws were created was to:

  • Help educate minors regarding the dangers of drinking and driving
  • Help minors access chemical dependency treatment
  • Get minors involved in community service

While MIP laws are used in many states, South Dakota is especially strict. 

South Dakota’s laws regarding minors in possession

Generally, all possession of, use of and consumption of alcohol by minors in South Dakota are strictly prohibited (with few exceptions). For drivers under 21, having a BAC (blood alcohol content) of just 0.02% is above the legal limit and, per se, conclusive evidence of a violation. 

The violations that may lead to a minor losing their driver’s license for a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 365 days include the purchase, possession or consumption of alcohol. 

When can minors face penalties from the MIP law?

It’s important to note that you don’t have to be driving to be convicted of a MIP law violation. Holding a beer under the legal drinking age can result in a MIP offense. 

Defending against MIP law violations

If your child is facing criminal accusations, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are guilty. It’s best to learn your legal rights and defense options to protect them from the often serious penalties that go with a violation of these laws.