Top Laramie, WY Minor in Possession Lawyers Near You

Minor in Possession Lawyers | Laramie Office

170 North 5th Street, Laramie, WY 82072

Laramie Minor in Possession Information

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Find a Minor in Possession Attorney near Laramie

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 Wyoming?

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.

Best Time to Seek Legal Help

No matter what your legal issue may be, it is always best to seek legal help early in the process. An attorney can help secure what is likely to be the best possible outcome for your situation and avoid both unnecessary complications or errors.

Tips on Approaching an Initial Attorney Consultation

  • Use the consultation as a means of gaining a better understanding of your legal situation.
  • Ask the attorney how many cases similar to yours he/she has handled. An attorney’s experience and knowledge can speak to their expertise (or lack of) in addressing your situation.
  • Your attorney should be able to articulate roughly how long a case like yours will take to resolve and what sort of procedures to expect.
  • Determine how comfortable you are working with the lawyer and/or law firm.

How much does it cost to hire an attorney?

In general, how much an attorney costs will often depend on these four factors: billing method and pricing structure, type of legal work performed, law firm prestige, and attorney experience. Depending on the legal issue you are facing, an attorney may bill you by the hour, settle on a flat fee, or enter into a contingency fee agreement. The type of legal work you need help with will also play a role in cost incurred.

Common legal terms explained

Plaintiff – a person or party who brings a lawsuit against another person(s) or party/parties in a court of law. Private persons or parties can only file suit in civil court.

Judgment – A decision of the court. Also known as a decree or order. Judgments handed down by the court are usually binding on the parties before the court.

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