Under Age Drinking a.k.a. Minor in Possession and in Consumption
Minor in possession of alcohol (MIP/MIC) is a very common offense in Washington State. Many teenagers and young adults are accused of MIP every year, and the potential criminal and driver's license consequences can be serious.
While the offense may seem straight forward at first glance, these cases can actually be quite complicated. Even if you are "caught red handed" with alcohol, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you resolve your Washington MIP charge in a beneficial way.
Exhibiting the Effects of Having Consumed Liquor
The term "exhibiting the effects of having consumed liquor" is defined as having the odor of alcohol on your breath and (1) there is a nearby container of alcohol (full or empty) or (2) you appear to be under the influence of alcohol. There are many potential ways to resolve a MIC case that can help you avoid a criminal conviction and a loss of your driver's license. While MIC is a crime, many prosecutors (the people who bring the criminal charges against you) and courts are willing to allow these cases to be resolved without a plea of guilty.
What you can do now:
There are many potential ways to resolve a MIP that can help you avoid a criminal conviction and a loss of your driver's license. While MIP is a crime, many prosecutors (the people who bring the criminal charges against you) and courts are willing to allow these cases to be resolved without a plea of guilty.
Some possible ways to resolve your case include things like a "diversion" or "continuance with a dismissal" which will allow you to avoid a criminal conviction and keep your record "clean." Unfortunately, not all courts allow such programs and not all prosecutors are willing to resolve cases this way.
This is when having a lawyer becomes particularly important, as it may take some fighting (i.e. litigation) to try and prevent a criminal record. Additionally, an experienced lawyer can advise you of some things you can do now to help increase the chances your case will be resolved without a conviction and Licensing Consequences.
Washington State MIP charge is a Gross Misdemeanor
A Washington State MIP charge is a gross misdemeanor criminal offense punishable by up to a maximum of 364 days in jail and a $5,000.00 fine. Most people convicted of MIP do not receive the maximum penalties. In fact, most people convicted of MIP do not serve any jail time at all but may be required to pay fines, costs, and receive other burdensome conditions of probation. However, only an experienced attorney can accurately advise you of what you might be facing on your MIP case.