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Minor in Possession of Alcohol Laws in Arizona

Arizona has statutes in place to counter juvenile offenses such as underage drinking and underage DUIs, and other crimes such as vandalism and trespassing. Under these laws, a minor is considered someone who is younger than 21, which means that someone who is charged with violating this law at age 18 or older could have their permanent adult record affected. All it could take then is one error in judgment, or one honest mistake to find yourself with a criminal record. Businesses could also face penalties if they are responsible for serving alcohol to a minor. Here then is an overview of minor in possession (MIP) regulations, exceptions, and penalties.

In Arizona, a minor under 21 is permitted to go into a bar as long as they are with a parent, guardian, or spouse who is at least 21, or if they are an employee of the establishment that sells alcohol. Of course, even if the minor can legally enter the bar, they can't ask for an alcoholic drink. Except in rare circumstances, it is illegal for a minor to drink alcohol in public.

  • If a minor uses a false ID to get alcohol or to get inside a business that's licensed to sell alcohol, then that is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense.
  • It is a Class 2 misdemeanor for a licensed business to supply alcohol to a minor.
  • If a minor asks someone else to buy alcohol for them, then that is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Some Exceptions

There are a couple of scenarios in Arizona where a minor is permitted to consume alcohol in public. This includes using liquor out of valid medical necessity, as long as the alcohol consumption puts no one at risk. Again, if the public will not be put at risk by doing so, a minor can also consume liquor in public as part of a religious ceremony.

What are some of the penalties for violating a minor in possession law?

If you are charged with breaking an MIP law, on top of criminal penalties of incarceration and fines, a conviction could mean losing your driver's license for as many as 180 days. Far worse of all, however, would be having the record of an arrest and conviction, something that could come up in any job interview or housing application. Here are some of the other potential penalties you could face:

  • For a Class 1 misdemeanor charge, you could be looking at 6 months in jail and $2,500 in fines.
  • For a Class 2 misdemeanor charge, you could be sentenced to 4 months in jail and $750 in fines.
  • For a Class 3 misdemeanor charge, you could face 30 days in jail and $500 in fines.

If you or someone you know faces a misdemeanor or a felony charge, you can find the skilled defense you need at the Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson, PLC, where you can get a former prosecutor on your side. His experience as a prosecutor gives him an edge when it comes to creating a successful defense, and his experience as a top-notch criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix has helped to him produce great case results for clients time and again. Attorney Davidson is passionate about shielding his client's liberties and reputations, and he can inform you about your legal rights and how to use them. You can also learn about your defense option in a free initial consultation. Learn how a dedicated defender can clear your name in juvenile or adult court when you call our defense firm or fill out a free case evaluation today!