After practicing law in and around a college town like Columbia, we have seen this situation time and time again. We get it; you are not 21 years old and you did not want to be left behind by your friends at the bar. By one way or another, you acquired a fake or false ID, which falsely makes the claim that you are, in fact, of age to drink. You are at the bar with your friends, and all is fine and dandy until the police officer taps you on your back, removes the drink from your hand, and asks you to come outside with them. Your heart drops—what are you going to do? The Law Office of Chris Miller has some insight as to how to handle this situation.
Comply With the Officer’s Demands
It is not uncommon to see police officers enter a crowded bar or night club in search of minors in possession of alcohol. They often look for individuals who seem to be avoiding contact with law enforcement. If an officer approaches you in a bar, do not try and run from them or blend into the crowd. The officer will probably ask you to come outside of the bar and present some identification.
If you had a drink in your hand, the officer would probably perform a field test on the drink to determine if it is alcoholic. If you are under the age of 21, you may be charged with underage drinking, minor in possession of alcohol (MIP), possession by consumption, or displaying, owning, or purchasing false identification. Typically a ticket is issued for such offenses.
Chances are you were only issued a ticket for your MIP or fake ID offense. A ticket might be easier to brush off than an actual arrest, but the truth is that a ticket, in this case, carries the same weight as an arrest. You are still facing criminal charges and will still have to appear in front of a judge. Frankly, after being issued a ticket, your night is over. The best thing you can do is go home. The last thing you want to do is go to another bar and get caught drinking twice in one night. Yes, we have seen that happen in the past, unfortunately.
Be a Responsible Adult by Contacting a Lawyer
Believe it or not, Chris Miller was a member of a fraternity at Truman State University. While he was a student at Truman, the Missouri Legislature changed MIP laws to allow law enforcement and county prosecutors to prove that a minor was in possession of alcohol by consumption. Chris watched as many of his fraternity brothers came home with possession by consumption tickets after going to parties and bars. Do not blow off your ticket. MIP, possession by consumption, and fake ID charges are serious and should not be ignored. Contact our office today for help.
Tell Your Parents What Happened and Get Them Involved
This is never a fun conversation to have with your parents. After practicing law in a college town for quite some time, we know how parents of college students can be. No matter how insistent your parents may be, they more than likely have your best interests in mind. Our firm adheres to the Attorney-Client Privilege to the highest degree possible, but we also understand that parents like to stay informed and be involved in their child’s life. At The Law Office of Chris Miller, we go out of our way to make sure parents stay informed and up-to-date on their child’s case.