A Minor in Possession (MIP) in Destin, Florida is not just an infraction like it is in a lot of states. An MIP charge can lead to a permanent criminal conviction on your record.

If you have been accused of MIP in Destin, or you’re a parent of a child accused of MIP, we can help.

My name is Tim Flaherty. I’ve been a Destin minor in possession defense attorney in Destin since 2001. Along with my partner, Brandy Merrifield, we defend young people charged with MIP in Destin.

An MIP charge is worth taking seriously, but there is also reason to be optimistic. There are good options available to resolve these cases with no permanent conviction. Call us at (850) 243-6097 for some immediate answers and peace of mind.

Will I have to come back to Florida for court with an MIP?

As long as you have retained an attorney before your first court date, the arraignment, you will not have to be present. We will file a Notice of Appearance as your attorneys of record, along with a Waiver of Appearance for you that excuses you from court.

A word of caution. Unless you have an attorney, or unless the Judge excuses you from court, you must appear. Do not rely on anything the clerk of court or the State Attorney tells you about this. We have had clients in the past who were told by the clerk’s office that they didn’t need to appear, and then were given a failure to appear arrest warrant when they didn’t show up.

As we work through your case, we will stay in regular contact so you won’t feel left out of the loop just because you aren’t physically here.

Can you get this Destin MIP dismissed?

As experienced criminal lawyers, we will pursue a full dismissal of all charges. The most likely way that will happen is through a program called Pretrial Diversion.

If you complete Pretrial Diversion, your MIP will be dismissed once you have met certain conditions over a definite period of time, usually between 30 and 90 days. Once the case is dismissed, we will also encourage you to have the criminal record expunged as long as you are eligible. Click for more information about Record Expungements in Florida.

Actual & Constructive Possession of Alcohol in Destin

To be convicted of this offense, the State must be able to prove that you were in constructive or actual possession of alcohol. To be in actual possession of alcohol, a minor must be in physical control of the beverage—for instance, having a beer in your hand.

Constructive possession, on the other hand, may be understood as a minor simply being aware of the presence of alcohol, in addition to having the ability and intent to possess it. For instance, you can be accused of MIP if you are at a party on the beach where alcohol was being served and you were able to possess alcohol that is close by.

Penalties for Minor in Possession in Destin

The frequent parties on Destin’s beaches make it easy for someone under 21 to come into contact with alcohol. Under Fla. Stat. § 562.111, however, it is illegal for anyone under 21 to possess alcohol under any circumstance, except when conducting legitimate business. If convicted of a second degree misdemeanor MIP in Destin, you may face one or more of the following penalties:

  • 60 days in jail
  • Up to $500 in fines
  • Permanent criminal record

If you entrust Flaherty & Merrifield with your case, it is very unlikely that you will face any of these penalties. It is far more likely that your case will be dismissed and expunged with no impact on your future.

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