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RCW 66.44.270 states that "It is unlawful for any person under the age of twenty-one years to possess, consume, or otherwise acquire any liquor. A violation of this subsection is a gross misdemeanor (punishable by up to 364 days in jail)."
Further, "[i] It is unlawful for a person under the age of twenty-one years to be in a public place, or to be in a motor vehicle in a public place, while exhibiting the effects of having consumed liquor. For purposes of this subsection, exhibiting the effects of having consumed liquor means that a person has the odor of liquor on his or her breath and either: (i) Is in possession of or close proximity to a container that has or recently had liquor in it; or (ii) by speech, manner, appearance, behavior, lack of coordination, or otherwise, exhibits that he or she is under the influence of liquor.
The Department of Licensing takes Minor in Possession charges very seriously. If you are 17 years of age or under and possess a driver's license, you will lose your license if convicted of MIP. Further, if you enter into a diversion program in Whatcom County and are not actually convicted of the crime, you will still lose your license if you are 16 or 17 years of age. If a conviction or diversion agreement (also called a "stipulated order of continuance") occurs, the Washington Department of Licensing will revoke your driver's license and a mail you a letter explaining the revocation and list a series of options that you have for reinstating your license early. However, if you get to this point you have gone to far. This is why you need a Whatcom County criminal defense lawyer to properly defend the charge before any license suspension occurs.
The consequences of a revoked driver's license are many and include that fact that you cannot drive while your license is suspended you cannot apply for a driver license or instruction permit while your license is revoked, and if this occurs you must surrender your driver's license to a driver licensing office immediately.
Because of the serious consequences of a minor in Possession charge, including but most certainly not limited to the loss of license, it is imperative you contact a Whatcom County MIP criminal defense attorney to discuss your options before you appear in court.
Being charged with Minor in Possession of alcohol is not an uncommon criminal charge in Whatcom County. The proximity to both Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College results in a relatively high number of MIP charges in both Bellingham Municipal Court and Whatcom County District Court. The charge of MIP may, at first glance, not seem to be particularly serious but this would be taking a short sighted view of your future. Any criminal charge, particularly one connected with alcohol or drugs, may negatively impact your future and even future employment. Further, a conviction of MIP may even impact your ability to obtain student loans or travel to foreign countries. Finally, if you are 17 years of age or under, you will lose your driving privilege if convicted of MIP. Therefore, take the charge seriously and do everything you can to get the charge dismissed.
I called many Bellingham lawyers but decided that David Jolly was the best choice. He was very kind and compassionate but honest, which I liked. I was also impressed by his knowledge and the fact that he has written so many books. It was a difficult time but he got my DUI reduced and saved my license.
- Kevin, Bellingham, WA
Law Firm of David N. Jolly
218 W. ChampionStreet
Bellingham, WA, United States 98225
Avoiding active (supervised) probation in Whatcom County is always a goal and always a challenge. Avoiding active probation may occur if you complete the alcohol evaluation and ADIS class early.
Bellingham Municipal Court has a program for first time offenders that may dismiss your MIP, assuming you do everything required to qualify.
An alcohol evaluation is required with any MIP charge so be sure the best treatment center is chosen.
An appearance in Bellingham Municipal or Whatcom County District Court will be mandatory.
If you are 17 years of age or younger and are convicted of minor in possession you will lose your license
by David N. Jolly
Whatcom County DUI Defense Lawyer
An alcohol evaluation through a certified and trusted treatment center is required. Do it early with advice from your lawyer.
We are a team of experienced criminal defense lawyers and staff with more than 30 years of criminal court room experience. David Jolly is a local Bellingham attorney who has also authored 14 DUI and Traffic Law books. We offer reasonable fees and generous payment plans.
A conviction of MIP in Whatcom County will cause your driver's license to be revoked if you are age 17 years or younger. Call us to protect your license.