Minor in Possession Lawyers | Georgetown Office
26 The Circle, PO Box 250, Georgetown, DE 19947
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Someone who is under the age of 21 can get a minor in possession (MIP) charge if they are found to be in possession of alcohol in public. In many cases, an MIP charge comes from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Examples of how someone gets a minor in possession charge include:
In general, it is against the law for someone under the age of 21 to consume or be in possession of alcohol. It is also against the law for someone to furnish alcohol to a minor or buy alcohol for someone under 21. The term “minor” generally refers to someone who is under the age of 18 and not an adult. However, minor in possession laws can still target an adult who is 18 years old but is still not of age to buy alcohol.
Some police activity involves searching for and busting minors who have an alcoholic beverage. However, most cases involving an MIP charge occur when the police are responding for some other reason and encounter a minor with alcohol in their possession, including:
A minor in possession charge can be an infraction or a misdemeanor. In many cases, an MIP is treated as an infraction with a fine. As a misdemeanor, an MIP charge could but rarely involves jail time. The possible penalties involved with a minor in possession charge include:
In general, an MIP charge will not affect your car insurance. However, if you are found in possession of alcohol while driving and charged with an underage DUI, it may increase your insurance rates. A DUI can stay on your driving record for years and could impact your insurance premiums. Some car insurance companies will drop coverage and no longer insure someone after a DUI.
There is generally a zero-tolerance policy towards underage drinking and driving. An adult with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% may be considered impaired. However, drivers under the age of 21 can get an underage DUI with only a trace amount of alcohol in their system. If an MIP involves an underage drunk driving charge, it can affect the driver’s car insurance rates.
A background check can show the individual’s prior criminal history, including arrests, convictions, active warrants, and infractions. Someone may have to undergo a background check for employment, housing application, professional licensing, or to become a Lyft or Uber driver. In general, a prior conviction for a minor in possession will show up on a background check.
Some criminal charges can be expunged or sealed. A public background check may not show criminal charges that were expunged or where the individual’s records are sealed. However, law enforcement and government agencies have greater access to an individual’s criminal history than the public. The court or police department may still be able to see a prior minor in possession charge.
In some cases, a person is accused of being a minor in possession because the police officers don’t have evidence of any other crime. When someone under the age of 21 is found in the presence of alcohol, it is easy for the police to charge them with an MIP charge. The penalties may be small but it still can carry a criminal record. Before just paying the fine or pleading guilty, talk to a criminal defense attorney for legal advice.
There may not be a lot of evidence for the prosecutor, which is why prosecutors generally try and get a plea bargain. There are several possible legal defenses to an MIP charge, including:
A minor in possession charge may not seem like a big deal but it can have long-term consequences. An MIP charge can show up on your criminal record. This may require you to declare the prior arrest and explain the situation. Even if it is not a major crime, it may not leave a good impression when you have to explain a prior criminal arrest. You may be able to avoid a criminal conviction with the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
It is in your best interest to get legal help early on in addressing your situation. There are times when hiring a lawyer quickly is critical to your case, such as if you are charged with a crime. It may also be in your best interest to have a lawyer review the fine print before signing legal documents. A lawyer can also help you get the compensation you deserve if you’ve suffered a serious injury. For issues where money or property is at stake, having a lawyer guide you through the complexities of the legal system can save you time, hassle, and possibly a lot of grief in the long run.
The goal of an initial consultation is to find an attorney you are comfortable working with and someone who can help you understand your options under the law. Seek to understand the relevant legal experience the attorney brings to your case. While it is not realistic to expect an attorney to resolve your legal issue during an initial consultation, you should gain a level of comfort with his/her ability to do so. A good consultation can clarify issues, raise pertinent questions and considerations for your case, and help you make an informed decision towards resolving your legal issue.
The more experienced a lawyer is in legal practice, the more likely he/she will be able to bring about a successful resolution to your issue. Since experience matters, lawyers who’ve been practicing law for many years (with a successful track record) tend to be in high demand. You should look for information about a lawyer’s experience and ask questions during the initial meeting. It’s a very good idea to ask the lawyer how many years he/she has been practicing law and the expected outcome of your case.
Personal jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority over a person, in order to bind that person to the judgment of the court, based on minimum contacts. International Shoe Co v. Washington is a landmark Supreme Court case outlining the scope of a state court’s reach in personal jurisdiction.