If you are reading this blog you or a loved one has been charged with Minor in Possession, also known as MIP in Destin. Unfortunately, with the beautiful beaches, droves of Spring Breakers, and increased tourism comes an increased police force. The heightened police force equates to hundreds of Spring Break arrests with the most common being Minor in Possession.

The average Minor in Possession charge in Destin generally occurs on the beach. Law Enforcement Officers can be in plain clothes or full uniform and approach any person that they believe to be under the age of 21 and consuming alcohol. It is law enforcement’s typical practice to question almost every person in possession of a red solo cup. Once law enforcement has made contact, there is little to no chance that you can talk your way out of a citation or arrest.

What do I do now that I have been charged with Minor in Possession in Destin?

Simple. Call my office immediately to discuss your options. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side will not only offer you peace of mind but protect your future.

What makes you different than other attorneys?

At Flaherty& Merrifield criminal law is the only law I have ever practiced, which means my firm is dedicated 100% to fighting your case. In addition to a dedicated criminal practice I offer 24/7 communication. Call my office today and let me answer your questions and ease your mind.

Will I have to come back to Florida for Court?

If you do not have an attorney prior to your court appearance you MUST be present, unless you have been excused by the Court. Failure to appear will result in an immediate bench warrant for your arrest and will not be resolved until you return to Florida to face the Court.

My citation says I can pay a fine and not go to Court, what is the danger in that?

That is correct, the citation says you can pay a fine and never come back to Destin for Court. What the citation does not tell you is that by doing so you have given up your right to challenge the charge against you. You have given up your right to make the State prove their case against you. You have also given up the right to have your case decided favorably. By paying the citation you will receive either a misdemeanor conviction or a withhold of adjudication. A conviction will follow you forever. A withhold of adjudication, although a decent result, will mean the record can never be expunged (wiped clean). An adjudication withheld only qualifies for a record seal, which is not the same as a clean slate.

Little known facts about a Minor in Possession conviction:

  • You can be sentenced up to 60 days in county jail;
  • You can be sentenced up to 6 months probation;
  • You will face a mandatory driver’s license suspension of up to 6 months;
  • You will forever have a guilty misdemeanor conviction on your record that can never be erased; and
  • You will be required to disclose your conviction to future employers, schools, and licensing boards.

A conviction will follow you for the rest of your life.

Right now you have more questions than answers. I can help. A simple mistake as a young person should not follow you for the rest of your life. If you are looking for a criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and protect your future, call my office today. My team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for you.

Contact an Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one have been arrested while on vacation in Florida, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation.

Tim Flaherty
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Florida Criminal Defense Attorney