Minor in Possession
Unfortunately for many people, a minor in possession (MIP) charge is often their first interaction with the police and experience with the court system. While an MIP might not seem like a terribly big deal in today’s culture, the government still takes these charges very seriously.
A conviction comes with a maximum penalty of up to 354 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. Additionally, depending on the substance in question and your age, you could also be facing a license suspension.
The term “possession” is rather loose. It does not simply mean you have a beer literally in your hand at the moment of police contact. Possession includes having alcohol in your system (meaning you drank some already) or you are near a recently emptied alcohol container. MIP charges often come in bunches, meaning they normally pop up when there are a bunch of kids together. Groups of underage individuals tend to draw the attention of the police, whether it is at a party, at a park, or in a car.
Supplying alcohol to an underage individual is also a gross misdemeanor, meaning the maximum penalty is 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. These types of charges often appear after liquor control board stings, where they send underage patrons into establishments and try to see if they will be served alcohol.
If you are facing an MIP charge, do not hesitate to give our office a call to discuss your situation. Our skilled Washington criminal defense lawyers will be more than happy to answer your questions.