Top Smyrna, DE Minor in Possession Lawyers Near You

Minor in Possession Lawyers | Dover Office | Serving Smyrna, DE

34 The Green, Suite G, Dover, DE 19901

Minor in Possession Lawyers | Dover Office | Serving Smyrna, DE

308 South State Street, Dover, DE 19901

Minor in Possession Lawyers | Smyrna Office

22 South Market Street Plaza, Smyrna, DE 19977

Minor in Possession Lawyers | Dover Office | Serving Smyrna, DE

250 Beiser Boulevard, Suite 202, Dover, DE 19904

Minor in Possession Lawyers | Dover Office | Serving Smyrna, DE

19 South State Street, Suite 100, Dover, DE 19901

Minor in Possession Lawyers | Dover Office | Serving Smyrna, DE

46 The Green, Dover, DE 19901

Smyrna Minor in Possession Information

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Find a Minor in Possession Attorney near Smyrna

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.

Top Questions to Ask When Hiring an Attorney

  • How many years have you been practicing law? How long have you practiced law in the local area?
  • How many cases similar to mine have you handled in the past?
  • What is the likely outcome for my case?

In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.

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.

How to Find the Right Attorney

  • Determine the area of law that relates to your issue. Attorneys specialize in specific practice areas around legal issues within the broad field of law.
  • Seek out recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues. A successful attorney or practice will typically have many satisfied clients.
  • Set up consultation appointments to get a better understanding of your case as well as gauge your comfort level with different attorneys. Find the attorney who is the right fit for your needs.

Common legal terms explained

Pro se – This Latin term refers to representing yourself in court instead of hiring professional legal counsel. Pro se representation can occur in either criminal or civil cases.

Statute – Refers to a law created by a legislative body. For example, the laws enacted by Congress are statutes.

Subject matter jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority to hear the claim based on the specific type of issue brought to the court. For example, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court only has subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy filings, therefore it does not have the authority to render binding judgment over other types of cases, such as divorce.

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