Friday, June 26, 2015

Explain In Detail - Minor in Possession of Alcohol Charges and Penalties

As per laws in Colorado, people under the age of 21 are not permitted to either have alcohol with them or even drink it. The minor in possession (MIP) laws have been created so as to stop underage drinking. In case a 21-year old is found in possession of alcohol, or if he or she has alcohol in his or her body or in his or her vicinity, then the officers can ask that person to take a breath control test in order to determine if he or she had alcohol or not.

Drinking and Possession of Alcohol

In case people are found violating the above mentioned law, then they will be subject to punishment to the extent mentioned by the laws in Colorado. These minor in possession Colorado laws are rather strict. In case of the first conviction the concerned person will need to pay a maximum fine of 250 dollars and his or her driver’s license will be suspended for a period of 3 months. In case of the second conviction the fine will be doubled to 500 dollars at the most, as will be the period till which the driver’s license stays suspended – 6 months. The third or next convictions will see the person leveled with Class 2 misdemeanor offense charges. 

This time the fine will be 1000 dollars at the most and the person will be sentenced to a year in jail. The driver’s license will be suspended for a year as well. This is how the minor in possession law works in Colorado. There are some additional punishments in such convictions as well. The judge can ask the concerned person to undertake 24 hours in community service. He or she can also be asked to take an alcohol evaluation test. He or she may have to take part in an alcohol treatment program or education course. They need to pay for the program from their own pocket. He or she may also have to pay 25 dollars as penalty surcharge. This money will be added to the adolescent substance abuse prevention and treatment fund. 

Minor in Possession of Marijuana

In case a minor is found in possession of marijuana or with marijuana in his or her body then he or she will be charged with marijuana MIP. Conviction in such cases could seriously affect one’s eligibility for important financial assistance such as Federal Student Financial Aid.

Evidence in MIP Cases

As per laws in Colorado if an officer suspects that a minor has consumed alcohol or marijuana or is in possession of the same then he or she can ask the minor for a breath test. The officer may also ask for such tests if he or she thinks that the minor is showing characteristics of being in such a state. As per laws the minor may also refuse to take the test. 

Selling or Providing Alcohol to Minors

In Colorado it is also against the law to sell alcohol to minors, or even serve or provide it to them. Doing such an act will be regarded as a Class 2 misdemeanor offence. The concerned person could be incarcerated to anywhere between 3 months and a year in jail. They may also need to pay a fine between 250 and 1000 dollars. 

Civil Liability for Social Hosts

As any experienced criminal defense attorney in Colorado would attest any civilian who willingly serves alcohol to anyone else under 21 years of age, and if the minor causes property damage or harms or kills anyone in the inebriated state then he or she tool will be held responsible for that crime. 

Taking Care of MIP Cases in Court

In most cases the result of an MIP case depends on previous instances of possession and subsequent conviction. The circumstances of the present case are important as well. Experienced lawyers such as Steven J Pisani can help the minors, as well as their guardians, with all the information that they may need in the court along with the results of an MIP conviction. MIP can affect an individual adversely in many important walks of life such as employment, eligibility to drive, and schooling. 

Defense Against MIP laws 

There are several ways in which a minor can defend successfully in an MIP case. If the minor consumed or possessed alcohol or marijuana while he or she was legally on the private property of someone else with his or her knowledge and consent, and if the act was known and permitted by the parents or legal guardian of the minor, then it will not be an MIP offence. Secondly, the same would apply if the alcohol in the minor’s body had alcohol that came from ingesting a substance not meant for such purposes or any confectionery it can be considered to be a defence. Thirdly, if the alcohol was consumed or possessed for religious reasons as mentioned in the first amendment to the United States Constitution, it may not be adjudged an MIP case.