What If You're Charged with a Minor In Possession?
What is a Minor in Possession? A MIP means you were caught under age drinking. You might have drank some alcohol and it shows up on a breath test, where in almost all states have any alcohol level in your system is illegal. On the other hand, you might be caught with an alcoholic beverage and are charged. In both cases you have some legal hurdles to climb. If you are unsure of where to begin when charged with an MIP, this blog guide can help.
Why Get a MIP?
Drinking and driving is a leading cause of death in the U.S., and a high number of the fatalities are in fact made by under age drivers. Therefore, the law was made to avoid these deaths. While it may seem odd that you can be 19 or 20 and technically get a minor in possession, that is the way the law works. If you are under 21, you are not supposed to drink.
You Should Not Plead Guilty
On the other hand, simply because you drank and especially if you did not does not mean you should plead guilty to the charges. You deserve a chance in court. You should question the charges. You should appeal for innocence or to have the charges lessened. Any MIP can be quite stiff in penalties, so if you can avoid them, you can save some valuable time and money.
You Need a Lawyer
When charged with an MIP, you should plead innocent and you also hire an experienced DUI lawyer. A DUI lawyer can help you fight the charges, question what happened, and move on. While a lawyer is not free, with the fines,the jail time, and the other penalties involved, it's more than worth hiring one.
Charges You Face
What kind of penalties you do you face? Each state has different laws. You can expect to be fined, perhaps $100. You may have to go through a substance abuse treatment program. You may be subject to alcohol screening for some time. These can really impact your life, so it's smart to both plead innocent and hire a lawyer. You may be able to avoid some if not all these charges.
Getting a MIP is never fun. It will likely change your life. Commonly high school and college students get them and it affects their early years. You might get one at a party. You might get caught drinking and driving. Or you may have a drug problem and are caught with drugs on you. Whatever the nature of the MIP, you can move on. It will take 7 years for the MIP to be taken off your record, unless you work with a lawyer and have it expunged. If you get further charges, such as another MIP or a DUI, the penalties can be much stiffer.
While it may not seem like the end of the world to be caught drinking, it can affect your life. The safest thing you can do is avoid going to social gatherings and drinking alcohol under age. While whether this is right or wrong is another story, sometimes it's best to wait until you are legal.