An Unopened Beer Could Cost You Your License
If you’ve read our material on drinking and driving, you may be saying to yourself, “Duh! I would never do something that stupid!” We’re glad you’ve come to that conclusion. But you should know, simply abstaining from drinking doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.
Just having booze in your car, whether it’s in your glove compartment or in your friend’s backpack in the trunk, can land you in a heap of trouble. Although laws vary from state to state, each have rules pertaining to alcohol, minors, and their car.
Revocation of License
Although the length of time differs from state to state, a minor found with alcohol in his or her car (yes, including the trunk) can have his or her license revoked. Some states revoke it for a 30-day period while others, like Washington, will revoke the license for up to a year, especially if you’re under the age of 17. Remember that this is only for having alcohol in the car, not consuming it.
A ticket for a Minor in Possession, or MIP, is just like any other ticket – You will have to pay a fine. In California, for example, you must pay $250 along with your license revocation. In other states, you could pay as much as $500. But, I guess you won’t be spending that money on gas anyway, with Mom and Dad driving you around and all.
Classes and Service
Many states will require you to attend a series of Alcohol Education classes (which also charge a fee) and/or complete community service hours in addition to the fines and license revocation. The classes are usually two or three-hour sessions and the community service can be up to 20 hours.
Some states, in a further effort to keep teens away from alcohol, include jail time as part of the punishment. This could range from one night to 30 days behind bars, depending on the state and the particular circumstance.
Keep in mind that if you are caught with alcohol in your car (even if it’s unopened and not yours), there will be consequences.
Do you really want to lose your license because you didn’t have to courage to tell your friends, “not in my car”? Sure, they might become angry with you, but they’d be lot more upset if you got pulled over and you were all ticketed with an MIP.
Remember that you are responsible for everything in your vehicle.