Do I need a lawyer if my child was arrested for minor in possession of alcohol?
Minor in Possession of Alcohol is commonly called “MIP.” It happens thousands of times over Spring Break and the summer. What that means is somebody under the age of 21 had an alcoholic beverage either in their hand or close to their person. They don’t even have to be seen consuming the alcoholic beverage to be charged with Minor in Possession.
The problem is that most people don’t understand a Minor in Possession is actually a pretty serious offense in Florida. It is a misdemeanor charge. Unlike other jurisdictions, it’s not a ticket that simply goes away once you’ve paid a fine. It will stay on that child’s record until it’s been expunged. Expungement acts as a magic eraser, but it can only happen in certain circumstances. For a child charged with Minor in Possession, they will have a court date, and they’ll have certain things that they have to accomplish in order to get their case resolved.
A Minor in Possession is a misdemeanor offense, and, as with any other misdemeanor offense in Florida, it comes with a court date and other requirements. This presents a pretty big problem because most of the people who are charged and arrested for Minor in Possession are college students. They don’t live on the Emerald Coast and they go back to college shortly after their arrest. As a parent, this can be terrifying. Not only has your child gone to Spring Break in another state, they’ve now been arrested and treated as a common criminal. Children that are charged with Minor in Possession walking up and down the beach will be handcuffed, they’ll be put in the back of the paddy wagon, they’ll be taken to the jail, and you’ll have to get them bonded out. It’s a terrifying experience for the child, but it doesn’t stop there. The experience will continue to move with them, because if their case is not resolved effectively, it will remain on their record for the rest of their life.
For a Minor in Possession to be removed from your record, it has to be expunged. In order to do this, you need to get a favorable outcome from the court through Pretrial Diversion. The state attorney’s office may or may not offer pretrial diversion to your son or daughter. If they do, fantastic. That’s a wonderful deal. It means a dismissal on their charges. What most people don’t understand is that a dismissal does not mean that the record goes away. It will remain on your child’s record indefinitely.
We’re all parents here at Flaherty Defense Firm. We understand your frustration and your fear for your child’s future. If your son or daughter was arrested for a Minor in Possession of Alcohol on Spring Break, give us a call. Let us help you.