Minor in Possession ("MIP") Laws in Montana

Under Section 45-5-624 of the Montana Code Annotated, the “minor in possession” law applies to persons under 21 years of age. Different penalties apply for individuals who are under age 18 and those age 18 to 20. 

The court must report MIP convictions to Department of Public Health & Human Services (DPHHS). DPHHS maintains a list of persons convicted of MIP and it is available to law enforcement officers and to any court. 

Attorney for MIP in Helena, Montana

If you are under the age of 21 years old and received a "MIP citation" for possessing or knowingly consuming alcohol or other intoxicating substances, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Helena, Montana, in Lewis and Clark County.

Call to speak to an attorney about important defenses that apply to charges of being a “minor in possession” under Montana law. For instances, the crime does not apply to employment situations where it is necessary to possess alcoholic beverages.  

Penalties for MIP in Helena, Montana

The penalties and punishments get progressively worse for each offense. 

For a first conviction, a fine of $100 – $300 will be imposed. An "attempt to purchase alcohol or other intoxicating substance" may result in a fine of up to $150 and additional community service. The fine is $200-600 for a second conviction and $300-900 for a third conviction.

For a first offense, the court will impose 20 hours of community service. For a second offense, the court will impose 40 hours of community service. For a third offense, the court will impose 60 hours of community service. 

No jail time is imposed for a first or second conviction, although, the third conviction for a person over 18 years of age comes with a maximum penalty of 6 months in the county jail. 

No youth court referral is required, although a person who doesn’t complete his/her sentence for MIP received when under age 18 and is now over 18 must be transferred to the Youth Court. Youth Court will determine if the person is to be considered as a “youth in need of intervention”. 

For a first offense, the driver’s license will be confiscated by the court for 30 days. A second conviction will result in a six (6) month suspension. A third conviction will result in the driver’s license being confiscated for six (6) months. Also, if the person doesn’t complete a community-based substance abuse information course, the court shall order the driver’s license to be suspended for an additional three (3) months. The court will retain jurisdiction for up to one (1) year to order the suspension of a license under this section. 

A conviction will not result in any points being added to the driver record. MIP convictions are not reported to the Motor Vehicle Division of the Montana Department of Justice. However, if a judge decides to order the suspension of an offender’s driver license, as part of the penalty for the MIP, then the judge sends that MIP conviction to MVD, with the notation that a license suspension is required. MVD takes the appropriate driver improvement action against the offender and records the action in the driver improvement section of the offender’s driving record.

Any person who drives, while their license or privilege to drive is suspended (or revoked), in Montana or any other jurisdiction may be fined up to $500, sentenced to a minimum of 2 days in jail and have an additional 1 year period of suspension or revocation added to their record. 

Youth and parents/guardians must pay for and complete a community-based substance abuse information course if one is available. substance abuse information course must be completed at one of the following: DPHHS-approved chemical dependency treatment program, hospital accredited to provide chemical dependency services, court-approved program, or program under contract to the Montana Department of Corrections.

For a second or third offense, the person must complete a chemical dependency assessment. The assessment must be conducted by a licensed addiction counselor (LAC). LAC may be part of a DPHHS-approved chemical dependency treatment program, the court, or a provider under contract to the Montana Department of Corrections. The Judge must order treatment based on the assessment findings and the youth must complete treatment. A young person over the age of 18 must complete an alcohol information course.


Beebe Law Firm - Criminal and DUI Defense
110 N Warren St Helena, MT 59601