Minor in Possession (MIP) in Olympia
To many people, an MIP charge is not a big deal. Everyone knows how common it is for minors to consume alcohol. However, that does not take away from the fact that it is illegal and the government will enforce their laws. For most people, an MIP will be the first time they have ever been in trouble with the law. This can often be a frightening experience. An attorney will help the minor get through the process with as little stress as possible while also fighting to preserve the minor’s record moving forward. We do not want it to impact their ability to go to school or get a job.
A MIP charge is a gross misdemeanor which means the maximum penalty is 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. This is the same as a DUI but there are also far fewer automatic periphery penalties. An MIP may result in a license suspension depending on the age of the defendant. It will also depend on whether drugs were involved.
A person can receive an MIP charge if alcohol or drugs are involved. The government can then prove possession in a variety of different ways. You do not have to necessarily be caught with the beer can in your hand. If they smell alcohol on your breath and you are near open containers that could be sufficient for a charge. If you admitted to drinking and you are behaving intoxicated, that could also be sufficient.
It is common to have multiple minors being charged with MIPs at the same time. They might pull over a vehicle full of kids. The driver gets a DUI or a “baby DUI” and all of the passengers get MIPs. Another common situation is when the police go to break up a house party full of minors. The officers will often try to cite everyone in the house. (if they can catch them.)
If you or your child is facing a MIP charge, do not hesitate to give us a call. We will be more than happy to discuss with you the situation and answer your questions. This can be a stressful situation for both parents and children. It is important to take it seriously and fight to protect the minor’s criminal record.