Minor in Possession of Alcohol
Defend Yourself from a Misdemeanor Charge with an Athens Criminal Defense Attorney
All criminal charges are serious matters deserving of an aggressive defense. However, when the accused is a minor, the need for representation is even more urgent. With their entire adult lives ahead of them, minors have even more to lose from a guilty conviction. A common offense faced by Georgia residents under the age of 21 is underage possession of alcohol. This is commonly called Minor in Possession or MIP. This is especially true for those on a college campus, where the pressure to consume alcohol is intensified by the substantial amount of drinking that tends to occur in this setting.
Fight for your future. Call our Athens criminal defense lawyer today at (706) 705-5122.
What Does a Minor in Possession of Alcohol Charge Mean for You?
An underage possession of alcohol conviction can negatively affect educational opportunities, and even future employment prospects. The same holds true for a conviction as a minor in possession of drugs in Athens. For this reason, it is vitally important to secure the services of a criminal defense attorney to represent you or your child.
The state of Georgia prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from consuming alcohol. This includes purchasing, attempting to purchase, or knowingly possessing any alcoholic beverages. Specific exceptions include medicinal or religious consumption. Possession within the home, with parental consent, is also excepted from the statute. The point of this regulation is not only to prohibit underage drinking, but also to prevent other serious crimes that often result from alcohol consumption, including DUIs. For this reason, an Athens DUI lawyer can prove extremely helpful in defending underage alcohol possession charges.
Potential Minor in Possession Penalties
Under Georgia law, the charge for a minor in possession of alcohol in Athens is classified as a misdemeanor. A first-time conviction may result in jail time up to 12 months, along with significant fines. The court may also order community service or probation.
A conviction may also result in substantial non-criminal penalties, including an increased rate for car insurance. For a student, the consequences may include academic disciplinary actions, suspension or expulsion from school. They may also lose eligibility for college sports programs or tuition assistance. At the University of Georgia, students must appear before the school's internal disciplinary board, in addition to any criminal proceedings. Students who have worked hard to earn a grant under the Hope Scholarship may find themselves ineligible for future funds.
Defending the Charges
There are numerous tactics that an Athens criminal defense attorney may employ to defend against the underage possession of alcohol charges, or at least lessen the potential penalties:
- Your lawyer may be able to negotiate completion of community service in exchange for a dismissal of the charges.
- Participation in alcohol classes or diversionary programs may keep the state from prosecuting.
- It may be possible to have your records sealed so the charges will not show up on background checks.
If you have been arrested in Georgia for underage possession of alcohol, Athens Attorney J. Lee Webb can provide an aggressive defense to help you fight it.
Protect Your Future
As a young individual, you have your whole life ahead of you-and it shouldn't be tarnished by a youthful mistake. For this reason, working with an Athens defense lawyer is recommended. Your lawyer can prepare a defense to mitigate the impact your charge has on your life, or even work with the prosecutor to get it reduced.
At this time, you are probably unsure of what to do next. We invite you to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Lee Webb to put your mind at ease. Call (706) 705-5122 today.