A minor in possession is an individual under the age of 21 found to be in possession of alcohol, including by consumption.
If you are charged with being a minor in possession (MIP) while operating a motor vehicle, the police do not need a warrant to administer a breathalyzer at the scene. Additionally, they may collect a blood or urine sample at a police station due to Georgia’s “implied consent law.” This states that if an officer has probable cause to think you have been driving under the influence of alcohol, you consent to taking a test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC).
But what if you’re not driving?
If you are stopped by a police officer—at a party, as a passenger in a car, walking around town—and he or she asks you to breathalyze, it is your right to refuse. One could argue that refusing a breathalyzer is your fifth amendment right to not incriminate yourself, reasoning that you would be providing numerical evidence (your BAC reading) that could be used against you in court.
If you consent to the breathalyzer test, that data will remain in your court case, and you will not be able to later protest that the officer did not have a warrant.
What if the officer says I have to submit to the test?
If an officer threatens you with prolonged detention, additional jail time or insists that you must submit, that is not true consent. Additionally, police officers are unlikely to admit you have a choice in the matter. Know that refusing to breathalyze (if you are not driving) is your constitutional right.
Every situation is unique and police protocol and your rights will vary accordingly. Count on Mitnick & Associates to guide you through your specific experience. Our expert team will guide you through the entire process, ensuring your rights are upheld and that you achieve the best possible outcome.