In California, being under the legal drinking age doesn’t just prohibit you from consuming alcohol, it also prevents you from being in possession of it in any public place. If you are a minor in San Diego who has been charged with this crime, or the parent of one, you can fight the charges, but you need to contact a minor in possession attorney as soon as possible.
How to Fight Minor in Possession (MIP) Charges
There are many defenses against minor in possession of alcohol charges in San Diego. Some of the best defenses include:
- the juvenile wasn’t actually in possession of the alcohol
- the teen wasn’t in a public place when the police arrested him or her
- the police discovered the alcohol during an illegal search and seizure
- the suspect was delivering the alcohol for a parent or boss.
Many of these defenses cannot be relied on if the minor tells the police information to the contrary, which is why teens, like adults, should never speak with the police without having an attorney present.
Minor in Possession of Alcohol Penalties in California
If a minor is convicted of a possession of alcohol charge in California, he or she may be sentenced to pay fines, perform community service and to lose his or her driving privileges for a year. With the help of an experienced lawyer, it is common to have minor in possession charges dropped to a non-alcohol related infraction. The great advantage to this is the minor doesn’t lose his driver’s license or have a criminal record. Sometimes a diversion program can also help the teen keep the charge from her record.
In some cases, the misdemeanor will also appear on the juvenile’s record, which could affect his or her ability to get into a good college or obtain employment after school. When the minor turns 18, an attorney can help him or her to expunge his or her criminal record, but this is not something that happens automatically and it is always better to fight against the charges in the first place than to wait until a minor can have his or her record expunged.
If you are a minor who has been charged with possession of alcohol or the parent of a teen facing these charges, San Diego lawyer Peter M. Liss can help. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation.
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