Port Orchard Juvenile Defense Attorney
If your child has been charged with a crime, we fully understand the stress and anxiety you’re feeling. If convicted, your child may face severe penalties. Even worse, their future prospects could be significantly impacted in ways that most people can hardly imagine.
As a parent, knowing your child is in trouble with the law can be overwhelming. A juvenile who is being charged with a crime in Washington state can start to feel like they’ve left reality and jumped into a different world with no map to find their way out. If your child has been charged with Minor in Possession in Kitsap County, it is crucial for your family to engage the services of a qualified Port Orchard juvenile defense lawyer. Our team of experienced law professionals is here to help you navigate the twists and turns of the juvenile court system.
To those unfamiliar with such territory, navigating through the system of juvenile court officials, correctional facilities, counselors, and the rest of the juvenile justice system can be intimidating. Not helping matters is the fact that the juvenile court system tends to move a lot faster than the adult court system, leaving you little time to play catch-up before having to jump the next hurdle.
You probably have dozens of questions, such as
- Will my child have to appear in court for minor in possession charges?
- Will this charge be on my child’s permanent record?
- How long does it take to resolve a juvenile court case in Port Orchard?
- Do Minor in Possession charges pertain to alcohol and drugs?
The information on this website seeks to educate you on the juvenile court system, as well as the most common juvenile charge prosecuted in Kitsap County, Minor In Possession, also known as MIP. If you wish to speak to a law professional about your specific juvenile case, please contact our team of Washington juvenile defense attorneys today. We offer a no-cost initial case consultation to every potential client.What Does It Mean to Get Charged With Mip?
It’s important to understand what your child is being charged with and why. Most juveniles and parents are not aware of Washington State's underage drinking laws and how they apply. It's common knowledge that the legal drinking age in the United States is 21 and that all states make it illegal to sell alcohol to anyone underage. However, state prohibitions against underage drinking extend further than merely the sale of alcohol.
From Washington state statute RCW 66.44.270
“(2)(a) It is unlawful for any person under the age of twenty-one years to possess, consume, or otherwise acquire any liquor. (b) It is unlawful for a person under the age of twenty-one years to be in a public place, or to be in a motor vehicle in a public place, while exhibiting the effects of having consumed liquor. For purposes of this subsection, exhibiting the effects of having consumed liquor means that a person has the odor of liquor on his or her breath and either: (i) Is in possession of or close proximity to a container that has or recently had liquor in it; or (ii) by speech, manner, appearance, behavior, lack of coordination, or otherwise, exhibits that he or she is under the influence of liquor. This subsection (2)(b) does not apply if the person is in the presence of a parent or guardian or has consumed or is consuming liquor under circumstances described in subsection (4), (5), or (7) of this section“
Most people assume that if someone is caught selling or giving alcohol to minors, that person is the only one who gets in trouble with the law, but that isn’t true in the state of Washington. This means that your child could find themselves charged with Minor in Possession simply from the presence of alcohol or a controlled substance in their body, to exhibiting the signs of being under the influence or even being in a situation where alcohol is present.
There are 3 exceptions where people under 21 may possess and/or consume alcohol and not be charged with MIP:
- Possession or consumption for an established religious purpose. Such as during Sunday mass at church, or during the Passover seder.
- Possession or consumption with a doctor’s prescription (as with controlled substances).
- In the event that a juvenile has been admitted to the hospital for alcohol poisoning, it is unlawful for that juvenile to be charged for a crime because without seeking medical intervention, they would not have otherwise been caught doing something illegal.
Whether your child was wrongfully accused or simply made a mistake and is looking for a second chance, our team of Kitsap County criminal defense attorneys can provide you with high-quality legal representation. Contact our firm today and receive a free case evaluation.Common Mip Penalties in Kitsap County
A violation of Washington's minor in possession law is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, up to 364 days in jail, or both. These, of course, are the maximum punishments for gross misdemeanors. In general, it is very rare that a juvenile offender, especially if this is their first offense, will receive maximum punishments if convicted.
Other common punishments for conviction of an MIP in Kitsap County include-
- A chemical dependency evaluation
- Enrollment in drug or alcohol treatment programs
- Community Service
- Loss of drivers license
Minors between 18 and 20 who are convicted of a violation may face an additional minimum fine of $250, at least 25 hours of community restitution, or both. All juvenile criminal court cases that occur in Port Orchard or the surrounding area are adjudicated at the Kitsap County Superior Court.
A violation of underage drinking laws, a youthful indiscretion such as drug possession or distribution, or any arrest of a minor can also impact admission to colleges, qualifying for financial aid, or finding a job or place to live.
Having these charges at such a young age can affect your child’s general middle and high school education, their chances of advancing to a college education and it can even affect their professional career later in life. Multiple offenses or more serious charges can result in felony charges and even worse consequences such as lengthy prison terms.
It is in your child’s best interest to obtain legal support to help your family through this time. Having your child accused of a delinquent act can drastically change the direction of their life and limit the success they have in the future. Our team of Port Orchard juvenile defenders can help assist you and your child take the legal action necessary to protect their future.How a Port Orchard Juvenile Defense Lawyer Can Help You
The most important thing to remember if your child has been charged is: Don’t panic. You may be disappointed with your reckless teen, but everyone makes mistakes, and you’re not alone. At this point, the best thing you can do is to find competent legal representation and focus on reaching the best possible outcome for your child and their future.
Whatever the legal outcome, ensuring that you and your family have the proper support through this challenging time is vital. An experienced Port Orchard juvenile defense attorney is one of the support systems you can invest in that will help move your family forward towards a healthy and happy future. You will get a better outcome if you have a good relationship with your lawyer and trust they are acting in your best interests. Contact our team of Kitsap County criminal defense lawyers today to begin your journey towards healing.