Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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Can you defend a minor in possession charge?

Minor in possession (MIP) laws are laws created to educate and inform those under drinking age about the hazards of drinking and driving. They are also there to help involve minors who decide to drink underage in community service and to help them get dependency treatment if necessary.

Usually, MIP laws have moderate punishments for first-time offenders. For example, a minor who is facing a MIP charge may be offered probation in exchange for going through a court-ordered diversion plan or by getting medical help to treat addiction.

One struggle of the MIP laws is that minors don't have to be legally drunk to face charges. Even a small amount of alcohol in their systems could be enough to result in a charge. To be accused of a MIP violation, you must only be under the age of 21 at the time of the citation and have alcohol in your possession. If you drank alcohol or attempted to buy it, you could face charges as well.

Fortunately, there are a few acceptable defenses you can use if you're accused of being in possession of alcohol while underage. For instance, if you had alcohol during a religious ceremony, this is a possible defense. Another defense would be if you drank alcohol where it was legal for a 19 or 20-year-old to do so, like if you were recently in Canada or another state with different drinking regulations.

If you face MIP charges, don't leave your defense up to chance. With the right help now, you have a better chance of defending yourself successfully.

Source: FindLaw, "MIP: A Minor in Possession," accessed Aug. 08, 2017

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