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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default MIP in South Carolina

    State - South Carolina
    County - Dorchester (if that matters)
    Violation Section Number - 20-7-8920 (if needed)

    The Story

    Last night October 21, 2007 my roommate and I had a party with about 10 or 11 people over. Everything was going good but I guess it got a little to loud and out of control and around 4am the cops showed up. Stupidly the 1 person who hadn't drank anything decided it would be a good idea to answer the door, even after we all told him not to. Anyways, beer cans were everywhere so as soon as they walked in they took out their ticket books. Well long story short I got a Minior In Possession ticket because I am only 19, one cop told me I didn't need to go to court and to just pay the fine ($254.00). I have his badge number and name also, but he left after they searched and made sure there were no drugs etc. Well later a different cop told me I had to show up to court and my license would be suspended. I have a car but there was no car involved we were in my apartment and my keys wern't even in my pocket. The cops didn't FST anyone or give anyone a breathaliser. I understand underage drinking is bad but we wern't causing any harm and we deffinately were not driving. I work 9-5 Mon-Fri and I make a good living, but with my job I am required to drive more then just to and from work, I am required to drive to clients houses be it a business or a home (I am a computer technician). I make over 18 an hour and I have held the same job for almost a year now (around 10 months). I can't lose my job because they suspend my license. My other problem is although I did just say I make a good living, I have just paid for this apartment (1st last month rent plus all fees etc) and furnished this apartmet so I am low on cash as I have spent close to 3000 in the past month or so. I don't think I can afford an attorney or afford to even talk to one, or is it not as expensive as I think.

    The Questions
    - Is there ANY way to avoid a suspension?
    - How much would it cost to consult an attorny and what kind do I need?
    - I read state law and it says a fine no less then $100 and no more then $200 and 90 day suspension (If its the first offense which it is), how could the officer ticket me for $250+ then?
    - Should I fight the ticket or just plead guilty?
    - They never checked to see if I was actually intoxicated and I was sleeping in my room when the cops came and woke me up could I not just say I had no idea what was going on?

    Sorry for so many questions and such a long thread but I really really really want to avoid getting my license suspended I -WILL- lose my job and I have worked long and hard to be 19 and make the living I do.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: MIP in South Carolina

    It's a criminal offense, which in most states means a court appearance is mandatory. (Some states do have exceptions for certain misdemeanors, and that may be the point of confusion between the officers.) The fine listed in a statute is not the end of the story. It's not at all unusual for there to be court assessments on top of the fine.

    If you want to pay the fine and wait out the suspension, plead guilty. If you wish to try to avoid the suspension, I suggest consulting with a local criminal defense lawyer to try to get a feel for whether you have any chance of getting a deal which would allow you to avoid the suspension. The statute does not require that you be intoxicated, or even that you have consumed any of the alcohol you possess.
    Quote Quoting South Carolina Code of Laws, 20-7-8920. Purchase or possession of beer, ale, wine, malt or other fermented beverages.
    (A) It is unlawful for a person under the age of twenty-one to purchase or knowingly possess beer, ale, porter, wine, or other similar malt or fermented beverage. Possession is prima facie evidence that it was knowingly possessed. A person violating this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than one hundred dollars.

    (B) Persons eighteen years of age and over lawfully employed to serve or remove beer, wine, or alcoholic beverages in establishments licensed to sell these beverages are not considered to be in unlawful possession of the beverages during the course and scope of their duties as an employee. The provisions of this subsection do not affect the requirement that a bartender must be at least twenty-one years of age.

    (C) This section does not apply to any employee lawfully engaged in the sale or delivery of these beverages in an unopened container.

    (D) The provisions of this section do not apply to a student who:
    (1) is eighteen years of age or older;

    (2) is enrolled in an accredited college or university and a student in a culinary course which has been approved through review by the State Commission on Higher Education;

    (3) is required to taste, but not consume or imbibe, any beer, ale, porter, wine, or other similar malt or fermented beverage as part of the required curriculum; and

    (4) tastes a beverage pursuant to item (3) only for instructional purposes during classes that are part of the curriculum of the accredited college or university.
    The beverage must at all times remain in the possession and control of an authorized instructor of the college or university who must be twenty-one years of age or older. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to allow a student under the age of twenty-one to receive any beer, ale, porter, wine, or other similar malt or fermented beverage unless the beverage is delivered as part of the student's required curriculum and the beverage is used only for instructional purposes during classes conducted pursuant to the curriculum.

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