Top Lewes, DE Minor in Possession Lawyers Near You

Minor in Possession Lawyers | Georgetown Office | Serving Lewes, DE

11 South Race Street, Georgetown, DE 19947

Minor in Possession Lawyers | Georgetown Office | Serving Lewes, DE

8 West Market Street, Georgetown, DE 19947

Minor in Possession Lawyers | Georgetown Office | Serving Lewes, DE

16 North Bedford Street, PO Box 824, Georgetown, DE 19947

Minor in Possession Lawyers | Georgetown Office | Serving Lewes, DE

6 North Railroad Avenue, Georgetown, DE 19947

Minor in Possession Lawyers | Georgetown Office | Serving Lewes, DE

26 The Circle, PO Box 250, Georgetown, DE 19947

Lewes Minor in Possession Information

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Find a Minor in Possession Attorney near Lewes

How Do I Get a Minor in Possession?

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:

  • Driver is pulled over with an open container of alcohol in the vehicle
  • Police bust a party where underage people are drinking alcohol
  • College student is caught with a flask of alcohol
  • Underage person used a fake ID to buy beer from a convenience store

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:

How Bad Is a Minor in Possession?

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:

  • Jail time
  • Fines
  • Alcohol education program
  • Community service
  • Probation
  • Driver’s license suspension

Does a Minor in Possession Affect Car Insurance?

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.

Will a Minor in Possession Show Up on a Background Check?

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.

How Do I Avoid an MIP?

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:

  • Someone else was in possession of the alcohol
  • The alcohol was in the possession of an adult
  • There was an emergency defense for calling the police
  • The police conducted an unlawful search in violation of the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Minor in Possession in Delaware?

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.

How an Attorney Can Help

An attorney can often resolve your particular legal issue faster and better than trying to do it alone. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal system, while avoiding costly mistakes or procedural errors. You should seek out an attorney whose practice focuses on the area of law most relevant to your issue.

How to Prepare for Your Initial Consultation

Prepare for your consultation by writing down notes of your understanding of the case, jot down questions and concerns for the attorney, and gather your documents. Remember that you are trying to get a sense of whether the attorney has your trust and can help you address your legal issues. Questions should include how the attorney intends to resolve your issue, how many years he/she has been practicing law and specifically practicing in your area, as well as how many cases similar to yours the attorney has handled. It can also be helpful to broach the subject of fees so that you understand the likely cost and structure of your representation by a specific attorney and/or legal team.

Tips on Hiring an Experienced Lawyer with Minor In Possession Cases

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.

Common legal terms explained

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.

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