Minor in possession laws are in place to protect minors against the possession of alcohol and drugs. With these laws, it doesn't matter if the person was actually using the substance. Instead, they are all about the actual possession.
Minor in possession laws are in place to do the following:
- Educate minors about the risks of drinking alcohol and using drugs
- Help minors receive treatment, if needed
- Get minors involved in community service
The penalties for first time offenders can be serious, such as a driver's license suspension for a period of up to one year. Other punishments can include a fine and/or community service.
Just the same as any crime, there are a variety of defenses to a minor in possession charge. Some of the most common include:
- There was no alcohol in the container possessed by the minor
- The alcohol was not consumed for recreational purposes, but instead for a religious service
- The consumption of the alcohol was legal
Facing a minor in possession charge is every bit as serious as it sounds. If you find yourself in this position, it could have a big impact on your life, such as by making it difficult to get to and from work.
It doesn't matter if you are personally dealing with this charge or you are assisting a child who has been arrested, it's imperative that you know your legal rights and a strong defense strategy. With this knowledge, it's much easier to make informed and confident decisions in regards to the steps that you will take in the near future.
Source: FindLaw, "MIP: A Minor in Possession," accessed Aug. 16, 2017