Although a Minor in Possession (MIP) charge is a Class C misdemeanor, it’s a mistake to assume that this isn’t a serious criminal case. At Tad Nelson & Associates, our Houston DWI lawyers have received panicked phone calls from many parents telling us their child was arrested. Maybe they were sitting in a car where there was beer, or they foolishly tried to buy alcohol despite being under 21.
Below, we analyze what factors go into deciding whether to hire a lawyer. Call our firm if you would like individualized advice about your child’s case.
Consider the Penalties for a First Conviction
Texas prosecutors bring these cases because they hope to discourage minors from buying or drinking alcohol. For this reason, it’s unlikely that a prosecutor will just drop the case.
Instead, a person can be fined up to $500 if convicted for the first time of a Class C misdemeanor. They can also have their license suspended for up to 30 days, possibly longer. That makes it harder to get to school or work.
Understand the Repercussions of a Conviction
Even a Class C misdemeanor stays on your child’s criminal history, and it can have many repercussions. For example, it will be harder for your child to enter the job market or secure an apartment, as criminal history checks are standard. Your child might also be denied admission to their favorite college or university because of a misdemeanor on their record. Often it makes more sense to try and fight the charge instead of simply admitting guilt.
Analyze How a Subsequent Conviction Will Impact Your Child
A second conviction for Minor in Possession will likely lead to a longer license suspension. You could also see fines jump to $2,000 or more for a third conviction.
There is also the possibility of jail for someone convicted a third time of minor in possession—up to 180 days. In a way, this provides incentive to fight even a first conviction.
How a Lawyer Can Help Your Child’s Case
If your child is under 18, a judge might defer conviction if they participate in community service and alcohol awareness classes. Satisfy these requirements, and a defendant gets their case dismissed. That’s good, because your child won’t have a criminal history. However, a lawyer is a big benefit for someone this young. Many parents are unprepared to handle their child’s case or even ask a judge if this type of deferred disposition is an option.
Sometimes, you might have no choice but to fight in court—especially if your child is over 18 but younger than 21. We can help build your case by gathering all relevant evidence and presenting your child’s side of the story.
Contact Tad Nelson
Parents want what’s best for their children. Often, that requires fully understanding the consequences of a criminal conviction. To discuss how we can help, call Tad Nelson & Associates today. One of our Houston DWI lawyers can provide relevant information in a free consultation.