Consequences for high school students busted for under-age drinking range farther than just MIP tickets

By Joey Danaher, assistant editor

In high school, most people know someone who has received an alcohol ticket. The consequences of a minor in possession ticket,  or MIP, are definite, but the specifics can be confusing, especially when high school students are involved.

Legally, people under the age of 21 can only drink alcohol in the privacy of their home with a parent or guardian. MIPs include possession both ingested and still in the container. A MIP  is considered an unclassified petty offense.

If a minor gets caught with alcohol, an officer will issue him or her a physical ticket and call a parent. The next step is a $100 fine that comes with the ticket. Within an allotted time, the minor and a parent are required to take a course on alcohol which costs another $100.

“I first look at their mannerisms, and then if I have a reason, I will talk to them, look at their eyes and, if I they have alcohol on their breath or these other signs, I can take action,” school resource officer Marcus Askins explained.

When a minor is caught with alcohol at a school event, there are additional consequences. The main one is a three-day suspension. The absences are unexcused, and the student is still expected to keep up with the work.

“The three days were just really boring, and I hung out at my house. It sucked,” a Boulder High student who preferred to remain anonymous said.

Another less official consequence is the treatment  the minor receives from teachers afterward. Teachers and staff are able to see that the student has had an alcohol-related offense.

“All my teachers knew, and some teachers teased me about it and some judged me,” the same student added.

Sports when added to the equation complicate it further. Coaches have the right to suspend an athlete from games if they  receive a MIP ticket at a school event or on the weekend.  The coaches don’t automatically find out about an offense, but they can find out about them if they choose to. Colleges are in the same position — they can find out about alcohol history if they choose to, but they won’t necessarily get that information.

The consequences for under-age drinking are huge, ranging from social punishment to lost academic time.

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