My son was charged with Minor in Consumption-Minor in Possession, what does this mean? What is going to happen to him?
MINOR IN CONSUMPTION
A minor (in alcohol related offenses, a person under the age of 21, the legal drinking age) can be charged with a Minor in Consumption charge for simply consuming an alcoholic beverage. An officer does not have to actually see him drink the alcoholic beverage but may make the determination to charge him with the offense if he smells alcohol on him or if he agrees to take a breath test and blows a number indicative of alcohol consumption. Mere possession of alcohol is not sufficient to warrant him being charged with Minor in Consumption. An affirmative defense does exist if he consumed the alcohol in the visible presence of his adult parent, guardian or spouse.
MINOR IN POSSESSION
Just as it is illegal for a minor to purchase alcohol, it is also a crime for a minor to be found in possession of alcohol. Possession of alcohol for this charge can be considered in various ways. If he is found holding a beer can/bottle, whether it is empty or full he can be charged with Minor in Possession. He could also be found in possession at a party where this is alcohol present even if he is not physically holding any alcohol. He may be at risk of being charged with Minor in Possession whenever he is at a party, nightclub, or in a vehicle where is alcohol is present. However, if he was is in the visible presence of his adult parent, guardian or spouse he may not be charged with Minor in Possession. Additionally, he may not be charged with Minor in Possession if he was in possession of the alcohol in the course and scope of his legal employment.
Minor in Consumption and Minor in Possession are both Class C misdemeanors, the same level as a speeding ticket. These charges along with the other alcohol related offenses of the Purchase of Alcohol by a Minor or the Attempted Purchase of Alcohol by a Minor can result in various ranges of punishment depending on if this was the first time he was charged with an alcohol related offense. Frequently, a court will allow a minor to be placed on deferred disposition which allows the case to be dismissed once certain requirements have been fulfilled.
If this was the first time the minor was charged with an alcohol related offense and placed on deferred disposition, the judge may order the minor’s driver’s license to be suspended for 30 days or if he does not yet have his license issue an order to deny the issuance of one for 30 days; up to a $500 fine; 8 to 12 hours of community service; and mandatory attendance of alcohol-awareness classes.
If this isn’t his first time being convicted of an alcohol related offense then the judge may order he be fined between $250 and $2,000; 20 to 40 hours of community service, and can be sentenced to up to 180 days in jail. The judge may also suspend the license for 60 days if this is not the first alcohol related offense but 180 days if the minor has been previously convicted twice or more of an alcohol related offense. The judge may further impose the attendance of an alcohol awareness class. Unfortunately, if a minor has been convicted twice or more for an alcohol offense, he is not eligible for deferred disposition and thus not eligible for a dismissal of his case through this method.
If the minor is under the age of 18, the court may also require the parents of the minor attend the class as well. If he doesn’t complete the conditions set out by the judge within the allotted time, then his license may be suspended up to six months or denied issuance of a license or permit for six months if he has not yet been issued one.
Some people may not consider these types of cases as serious charges since they are only Class C misdemeanors but we think otherwise. We understand that an alcohol related offense on your child’s record could impact their chances of getting into college or even being hired for certain jobs. As criminal defense attorneys who have handled a wide range of cases, and several MIP and MIC charges, we will fight our hardest to achieve the best results possible for your child’s case.