Minor in Possession of Alcohol Laws in California

In California, it is illegal for minors to possess or consume alcohol in any public place. In regard to alcohol consumption in California, a person is considered a minor if they are under the age of 21. In addition, a public place is defined as any place that is outside of the home including beaches, parks, bars, restaurants, etc. If a minor is caught consuming alcohol in a public setting, he or she may be charged with minor in possession.

Minor in possession is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by community service and fines. As a misdemeanor, an MIP may affect a minor’s criminal record and future. In addition, a minor’s license may be suspended if he/she is convicted. For this reason, it is important that a minor who has been charged or the parent with a child who has been charged with minor and possession seek legal representation as soon as possible.

An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help defend your case if:

There are a number of defense strategies our team may be able to use or elements of your case we may be able to focus on in order to defend against the charges you face including:

  • The minor charged did not actually possess any alcohol - This may occur if a minor is found guilty by association by the citing police officer. However, a minor who did not actually possess alcohol may have his/her case dismissed if the lawyer is able to prove this.
  • The minor was making a delivery to a person of appropriate age - This may occur if a police officer cites a minor while he/she is on his/her way to work to deliver a bottle of wine to his/her boss or customer, a family member, or another appropriate situation.
  • The minor was charged with a minor in possession during an illegal search and seizure - This may occur if a police officer violates the rights of an individual by unlawfully conducting a search of their person or property without probable cause or a warrant.

Like any criminal defense matter, a minor in possession charge must be looked at on a case-by-case basis. By involving an experienced minor in possession defense lawyer, your penalties may be decreased. In some cases, minor in possession charges may be completely dismissed.

What Happens When a Minor Gets a DUI?

Another matter related to minors in possession are underage DUI crimes. California laws state that there is a zero-tolerance law in place in regard to a minor driving under the influence of alcohol. With this, any amount of alcohol in a minor’s body will result in a civil offense. If a minor has a blood alcohol content of 0.05-0.07, he/she may be convicted of an infraction. However, the penalties for a minor facing a DUI charge may be more severe depending on the level of intoxication, and whether anyone else was harmed as a result.

When to Call a Minor in Possession Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with minor in possession, or are the parent of a minor who has been charged with this crime, it is important to seek legal representation right away. The Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP understand the anxieties that can come about after being charged with a crime, and works tirelessly to pursue the best outcome possible.

To speak to a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney today, contact Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP.