Tacoma Juvenile Defense Lawyers for Minor Possession
Washington law enforcement agencies are actively cracking down on minors in possession of alcohol and drugs, with officials claiming that it is a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy. Even if a young person is not drunk or under the influence of narcotics at the time, if police find drugs or alcohol on their person or in their vehicle, then they may receive Minor in Possession (MIP) charges.
With the legal guidance of a strong defense attorney, it may be possible to see the punishments for these charges reduced and damaging criminal records avoided, including pursuing a diversion agreement if that fits the client’s needs.
At South Sound Law Group, our Tacoma juvenile defense lawyers for minor possession have years of experience providing legal defense to those charged with crimes. We believe that there is no charge too large or too small and that every defendant deserves respectful, dedicated legal representation.
What Are the Potential Penalties for a Gross Misdemeanor Charge?
In Washington, anyone under 21 in possession of alcohol or drugs is breaking the law. As the Washington state Attorney General’s website plainly says, “You don’t have to be buzzed to be busted.” It doesn’t even need to be your beer. If you’re driving and you’re not 21, and your underage friend has beer under their seat, you could lose your driving privileges.
MIP is a gross misdemeanor. If this was a minor’s first offense for alcohol possession, they are likely to have a driver’s license suspension, which could last between 90 days and one year.
A minor who has consumed alcohol but who is not currently in possession of that alcohol when police approach them will face the same consequences. This charge is called Minor in Consumption.
Though a conviction for a first-time offender will likely not result in the maximum penalty, it is important to note that the maximum sentencing for MIP charges is up to a year in jail time.
Are There Different Criminal Consequences for Possession of Alcohol and Drug Possession?
If a minor is convicted of drug possession, they will likely lose driving privileges and could face up to a year in jail and thousands of dollars in fines.
A minor in possession of a drug, or having a drug like marijuana in their system, is charged as a misdemeanor in Washington. A person needs to be 21 years of age to legally possess or use marijuana in the state.
The only exception to these rules is if the minor’s licensed physician prescribed the marijuana.
How Can an Attorney Help Fight MIP Charges?
If convicted of possession of alcohol or drugs at an unlawful age, young people may risk driver’s license suspension, fines, probation, and even jail time. Such a conviction could result in the lasting stain of a criminal record following the young person around as they grow up and mature. This record may make it more challenging for them to get employment, apply for student loans, join the military, find housing, or go to the desired college.
A lawyer experienced in criminal defense can help pick apart the charges, craft a plea bargain, or advise the defendant in the matters of a diversion agreement.
Your lawyer may also be able to assist you in lifting the driver’s license suspension early.
Call Our Tacoma Juvenile Defense Lawyers for Your Minor Possession Case Today
Possessing alcohol or narcotics while underage can result in serious legal consequences that negatively impact the defendant’s life for years to come. You want an experienced legal team that can provide you with a strong criminal defense.
To discuss your case, call our offices and schedule a free consultation today by calling 253-465-2722.