A Minor in Possession criminal charge can deal with alcohol, drugs, or gun possession. We handle all three types, but the information provided below will be mainly about alcohol possession charges.
Although a Minor in possession (MIP) or a Minor in consumption (MIC) criminal charge is common it is nothing to take lightly. A conviction for an alcohol offense at a young age can have a long lasting negative impact on a young person's future. Not only will having a criminal conviction on your record make it more difficult when applying for schools, student loans, the military, and jobs, but any future charges, especially involving alcohol or drugs will be scrutinized more closely. A conviction for a MIP may also limit your ability to travel to Canada and other foreign countries.
Both prosecutors and judges are familiar with the fact that alcohol or drug use at a young age increases the probability that the person will develop an abusive or even addictive relationship with these substances. This can subject a person to additional alcohol/drug evaluations and even additional follow up treatment. In addition, a criminal conviction for these types of offenses can carry a social stigma with a person for years after.
Our goal is always to do everything we can to lesson the impact of a MIP or MIC charge. Having an experienced attorney that will work hard on your behalf, care about you as a human being, and remember what it's like to be a young person, is important when deciding whom to trust to handle your case. We all make mistakes, especially at a young age, that shouldn't prevent you from accomplishing your goals. Talk to one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys today.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a MIP or MIC, give us a call to set up a free consultation so we can answer any of your questions and concerns. We can be reached at 253-383-3328.
What is Minor in Possession?
The statute for a Minor in Possession (MIP) or Minor in Consumption (MIC) criminal charge can be found at RCW 66.44.270. Although the title and section (1) deals with furnishing alcohol to minors, we will concentrate on the second subsection (2) that specifically deals with MIP/MICs.
(2)(a) It is unlawful for any person under the age of twenty-one years to possess, consume, or otherwise acquire any liquor. A violation of this subsection is a gross misdemeanor punishable as provided for in chapter 9A.20 RCW.
This section criminalizes anyone under the age of twenty one, whom possesses, consumes, or otherwise acquires liquor. Thus, the difference for a MIP vs a MIC is pretty clear, possession vs. consumption. Ex. Being caught with a six pack of beer vs. caught with the odor of alcohol on your breath because you consumed some of those beers.
A MIP/MIC is a gross misdemeanor, meaning the maximum power of the court to sentence you is 364 days in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. Surprisingly, a MIP/MIC is treated as a more serious offense than a Minor DUI, which is only a misdemeanor (max 90 days in jail and $1,000 fine).
If you are found guilty or in trying to work out a favorable result, you may have to obtain an alcohol/drug evaluation and complete any recommended treatment. The goal of this, whether required by the court, or necessary to work out a favorable deal with the prosecutor is to try to prevent you from developing a substance abuse problem at a young age. Studies show that consuming alcohol or using drugs at a young age drastically increases the chances you will develop a substance abuse problem which can lead to alcoholism or drug addiction. Many people suffering from substance abuse problems also regularly get in trouble with the law and end up in and out of court for a good chunk of their adult lives. Thus, both the courts and the prosecutors, and frankly, we here at South Sound Law Group, want to work to prevent that. We want you to be a successful and productive member of society. Our goal is always to obtain the best possible result for you, whether that's with a favorable deal or a not guilty at trial. As skilled trial attorneys we are only limited by out creativity and what the prosecutor and the court will agree to. As such, to obtain a favorable result some clients have to complete community service or other proactive conditions depending on the specific facts of your case. Every case is unique and we take great pride in keeping you informed through out the entire process.
Will I lose my license because of a MIP?
If you are convicted of a MIP/MIC, then you will have your license revoked. The amount of time depends on a number of factors.
- First Notice - 1 year or until your 17th birthday, whichever is longer
- Second or subsequent - 2 years or until your 17th birthday, whichever is longer
Unlike a suspension as an adult, a minor whose license is revoked for MIP cannot apply for a restricted license. This is another reason why hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is so important, to try and prevent the conviction in the first place.
It is important to note that the Dept. of Licensing considers Minor in Possession to not just include alcohol for purposes of license revocations:
- When a person age 13–17 is convicted of:
- Possession of alcohol. (Age is determined by the incident date.)
- Any offense involving a firearm, whether or not it's related to using a motor vehicle.
- When a person age 13–20 is convicted of a drug offense. (Age is determined by incident date.)
- When a person under age 18:
- Pleads guilty or is found guilty of illegal possession of a firearm while in a vehicle.
- Commits any offense while armed with a firearm in which a motor vehicle served an integral function.
You can visit the DOL site for in-depth information here.
Can I have my license reinstated?
Depending on the type of offense, you may be eligible to have your license reinstated before the full term of the revocation.
- Possession of firearms - No early reinstatement available
- First notice - Drugs or Alcohol - 1 year after whichever comes last:
- Your 17th birthday
- The date of conviction
- Second or Subsequent - Drugs or Alcohol - Whichever comes last:
- Your 18th birthday
- 2 years after the date of conviction
If you or your child has been arrested and is facing a criminal Minor in Possession or Minor in Consumption charge, it's always best to have an experienced criminal defense attorney fighting to try and obtain the best result possible. Charges like this can have a huge impact on a minor's future including college admissions, scholarships, student loans, trade and certification programs, like nursing, and even military enrollment. Prosecutors and judges take these charges seriously and you should too.
We offer free consultations on all our services because you are important, not us. You should have the opportunity to be educated on the entire process and then make the decision of who to hire, whether that's us or not. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to reach out to speak with one of our experienced MIP Attorneys today.