Minor in Possession
Posted on Apr 6, 2014 in Criminal Defense
If you are under the age of 21 and you are caught with alcohol, you can be charged as a Minor in Possession (MIP). As we explain in our video Minor in Possession, there has been a dramatic spike in MIP cases in recent years, as more money is used to track to crack down on college kids and underage visitors who come and spend time enjoying the active party scene in New Orleans.
If you are charged with an alcohol crime when you are under the age of 21, you need to be aware that an MIP is a misdemeanor. This is a criminal offense, not just a citation like a traffic ticket, even if it looks like one since you are usually just given a summons. While you probably are not going go to jail or even be handcuffed and arrested, you could have a criminal record that prevents you from exploring future educational and job opportunities. You need to take the MIP charge seriously and a New Orleans criminal defense law firm should be consulted right away.
Minor in Possession Charges
Louisiana resisted changing the legal drinking age to 21 from 18, and did not make this shift until 1996. Despite this initial reluctance to punish young people just for consuming a little alcohol, there has been a big shift and police are now taking an aggressive stance on underage consumption. In fact, as our video explains, there is special federal funding in place for an MIP task force that raids bars throughout the New Orleans area.
There are a lot of colleges around New Orleans where students are being affected by this aggressive enforcement of drinking laws. Young people from Tulane, Loyola, Dillard, University of New Orleans and Xavier are all finding themselves facing a criminal case because of under-aged drinking. This can derail a promising future, as many post-graduate schools and employers will ask about criminal history and will look at your past record.
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize the gravity of the situation when they are charged with being in possession of alcohol. The fine for this offense is usually between $250 and $400, and paying it may seem like it is not a big deal. However, as our video explains, if you just pay the fine, this is essentially an admission of guilt and the offense goes on your record.
Instead of just admitting that you are guilty of this misdemeanor crime, you should talk to a New Orleans criminal defense law firm to explore your options. Even if you are out-of-state and don’t want to spend a lot of time coming back for a court hearing, an attorney may be able to help fight the charges and find an alternative solution to just resigning yourself to a criminal conviction.
At Bloom Legal, a New Orleans criminal defense lawyer will help you to decide how best to respond to the charges, whether this is a plea bargain or fighting to get the charges dropped or going to court. Call us as soon as possible to learn more about how we can help, and take a look at our video on Minors in Possession to better understand your options.