Penalties and Defenses and Against an MIPSan Diego Legal News
A minor in possession offense can be devasting to the life of a young person and the lives of their families. Having such early exposure to the criminal justice system can create lifelong financial, social, and mental hardships. If you or someone you know is facing a minor in possession charge in the San Diego area, you need to retain the best criminal defense attorney possible. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security by the prospect of no jail time; being confronted with a minor in possession is a very serious offense that can produce consequences that carry into adulthood.
Penalties for a Minor in Possession
A minor in possession (MIP) is classified as anyone that is under the legal drinking age of 21 that is in possession of alcohol in a public space. For a first offense, a minor in possession of alcohol will be facing a $250 fine and 24-32 hours of community service that does not interrupt school or any employment obligations; for a second offense, a fine that does not exceed $500 and 36-48 hours of community service that does not interrupt school or employment obligations. Additionally, following a second offense, your driver’s license will be subject to a one-year suspension. The judge has the authority to assign community service hours in the form of an alcohol or drug treatment program if deemed necessary. Police officers have the right to seize any alcoholic beverages under the following circumstances: in plain view at a social gathering in public, where there are ten or more people consuming alcohol in a public space, and/or at a social gathering not supervised by a parent or guardian. Business and Professions Code 25662 establishes the penalties for businesses and homeowners if they allow minors to consume alcohol. Any individual that is discovered providing alcoholic beverages to minors is subject to a $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service. Any business that is licensed to sell alcoholic beverages that serves a minor will be subject to sanction, investigation, and potential closure. The best course of action if confronted with any of these penalties in the San Diego area, you need to consult a qualified and skillful criminal defense attorney immediately.
Defenses Against a MIP
The best defense against a MIP is a licensed defense attorney and there are many strategies that can be employed by such an individual to give you and your family peace of mind. First, there is the prospect of a simple misidentification of a substance. If a police officer misidentifies an alleged alcoholic substance that is not, in fact, so, that can be an exonerating factor in your case. In certain states, individuals under the legal drinking age of 21 are allowed to consume alcohol under certain exceptions such as with parental consent, in a private non-alcohol serving premises, for medicinal purposes, for education, religious, and experimental reasons, and even in some alcohol-selling establishments. Another defense that can be used is overt coercion or force. If another individual has threatened you or a loved one physically or emotionally which forces you to consume or possess alcohol as a minor, that is an exception and you will not be legally penalized for such conduct. If you or a loved one are in danger of being charged with a minor in possession in the San Diego area, contact the Coastal Legal Center for a free consultation at 619-231-0724.