A minor found in possession of alcohol or drugs, regardless of whether they had consumed the substance or not, can be charged with violation of MIP laws. Minor in Possession laws were created by state governments to educate minors of the dangers of drinking and driving, involve minors in community service and help them get medical help or therapy for a dependency problem.
Different states observe different standards of punishment for minors in possession. Typically, it is considered a misdemeanor. Mostly, states have less severe punishments for first?time offenders. They may be put on probation, with more severe punishments on subsequent convictions. For example, in California, first-time offenders may have their driving license suspended for a year. Other states usually require multiple MIP convictions before taking away the driver's license.
A minor does not have to be drunk or driving to be convicted of a MIP charge. The fact that they were underage and found in possession of alcohol or drug is proof enough that they violated the law. In certain instances, defenses can be raised against the MIP charges. The validity of such defenses, however, depends on the particular situation as well as the local and state laws.
If you or a loved one has been charged for violating your state's MIP laws, you should contact a DUI or criminal defense attorney at your earliest. Such a charge may have severe repercussions on your employment prospects in the future. An attorney will review your case and make you are aware of your possible options. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to defend your charge in court.