Keeping an Underage Possession of Alcohol Case off Your Record
Georgia law prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from consuming or possessing alcoholic beverages. Minor in Possession of Alcohol (“MIP”) is a criminal offense that carries a maximum punishment of $300 fine and a 6-month jail sentence. In addition to court-ordered penalties, it can also affect your academic and career prospects. If in a vehicle, it can result in the loss of driving privilege for up to six months. A conviction for any misdemeanor offense can have lifetime consequences. An experienced Georgia MIP Attorney can protect your rights and keep an underage possession of alcohol charge off your record.
Solving the Problem for Young People and their Parents:
When you hire an experienced Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney from our office, we have several tools that we use to help save our clients from losing their license or having a permanent criminal record. One way an attorney can accomplish this is through legal defenses. O.C.G.A § 3-3-23(a) includes exceptions to its prohibition against minors possessing alcohol. For example, the law does not apply if you were in the home, you had consent from a parent or guardian, and that parent or guardian was present at the time.
Diversion and Conditional Discharge:
Enrolling in a supervisory court program, such as Pretrial Diversion or Conditional Discharge, may also keep the charge off of your record. If you enter a Pretrial Diversion program, the prosecutor will dismiss the charges once you successfully complete the program terms. If you fail to complete the requirements, the Solicitor's Office will proceed with the prosecution of your case. Courts vary in their program requirements, but they usually include community service, a clinical evaluation, a program enrollment fee, an alcohol and drug awareness course, random drug and alcohol screens, and probation.
Even if you are ineligible for Pretrial Diversion, you still have options. Conditional Discharge usually involves the same requirements as Pretrial Diversion. The difference is that a guilty plea will be automatically entered on your criminal record if you fail to complete the program terms.
Whether your attorney negotiates your case using legal defenses or through alternative sentencing, you can keep a MIP charge off of your record. If you have been charged with a MIP, contact a Georgia Underage Possession of alcohol Attorney today.