Can i get an MIP without signing a citation?
1 attorney answer
A citation is just a way to document an arrest and release in the field. A citation is used as a way for you to be released on a written promise to appear in court.
Many criminal cases happen exactly as you describe - the accused gets notice in the mail of a court case filed against them. The procedure you describe is "legit."
As to whether or not the prosecution has a good case - that's another story. You don't mention having beer in your question, but I assume they have a witness that will testify you had a beer in your possession. A breathalizer is not required, as the law prohibits possession as well as consumption by a person under 21.
Your rights are not required to be read to you during a detention and investigation. If you were formally arrested or otherwise in police custody and being subject to interrogation, then the rights would be required to be read. Even if there was a Miranda violation, the result would be that any statement received would be thrown out, but not necessarily the entire case, unless the prosecution couldn't prove the case without your statement.
I know it seems like a minor charge, but minor in possession can have an impact on your driver's license and may end up as a criminal conviction you'll have to disclose on employment and insurance applications. It's worth it to discuss this with a criminal defense attorney in your area to see what can be done to keep this from becoming a mark on your record.