In Tennessee, underage drinking crimes are commonly referred to as minor in possession of alcohol, or simply MIP. The statutes for these offenses are found in Tennessee Code Annotated 57-3-412.

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Tennessee minor in possession crimes can be broken down into possession (including consumption), transportation, and purchasing or attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages. Both juveniles and adult minors can be charged with these offenses.

Juvenile offenders are anyone under age 18 and are subject to a different legal process than adults. A juvenile will have his or her case heard in juvenile court.

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    If a juvenile is charged with possessing, transporting, or purchasing alcohol, he or she will probably not be arrested (except in cases of driving under the influence) but instead will be given a citation. The court will then issue a summons to the juvenile to come to court with his or her parents. At the court date the court will then decide on the appropriate way to handle the case. It could be probation, community service, or attendance at an alcohol safety class.

    Offenders aged 18 or older, however, are considered adults in the legal system and will thus go to adult court. The initial procedure for adults is similar to that of juveniles: if the police officer discovers them in possession of or trying to purchase alcohol, a citation will be issued and a court date set. At court, the adult minor should have a lawyer present to negotiate with the prosecutor. How the case is resolved will depend on the facts and on whether the minor has a previous record.

    Tennessee minor in possession of alcohol is a serious offense for someone aged 18-20 (an adult minor). The charge can be removed from the minor’s record, but it may require probation or attendance at an alcohol safety class.

    For adult offenders, Tennessee law allows the crimes of possessing or transporting alcohol to be automatically removed six months after the offense is committed.

    For help with this, and to see if you can get the charge removed faster than that, contact a Tennessee minor in possession attorney. However, the crime of purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol does not allow for an automatic six-month removal like with possessing or transporting. The charge may still be removed from the minor’s record, but it will be at the court’s discretion and could take longer.

    Additionally, a conviction for purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol by a minor will result in loss of the minor’s driver’s license. It is also a crime for a minor to make a false statement or use a false identification indicating that he or she is 21 or older in order to purchase alcohol.

    For help with an underage drinking case, contact Memphis minor in possession attorney Patrick Stegall. Mr. Stegall has helped many young men and women enroll in alcohol safety classes and keep the charge off their records. Contact him by phone at (901) 205-9894 or by email at

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