Collin County Minor in Possession Charge Attorneys
If your child was arrested or charged with possession of alcohol, call Rosenthal Barbieri today. Our team of Collin County juvenile defense lawyers will work hard to preserve your child’s rights and ensure they receive fair treatment. We understand the challenges you and your child are facing. Let us help you through it and try to reach a favorable outcome in their case.
MIP, minor in possession of alcohol, is a class C misdemeanor in the state of Texas. A minor in possession of alcohol is a person under 21 years old who received a citation for legally possessing, owning, or controlling an alcohol beverage.
Texas laws and statutes determine if and when your son or daughter gets charged with an MIP. If you’re unfamiliar with legal proceedings, you won’t know what to expect next. Despite allegedly breaking the law, your child does maintain specific rights. If you’re not aware of those rights, he or she could get taken advantage of while in the custody of law enforcement.
Call Rosenthal Barbieri today at (972) 369-0577 to discuss your options.
What Are My Child’s Rights After Getting Arrested?
When a juvenile gets taken into custody in the state of Texas, they have various rights, regardless of the reason the officer arrested them. Just like any adult taken into custody, your child has the right to do the following:
- Make a phone call after the arrest
- Get an explanation as to what crime the officer is accusing them of committing
- Retain an attorney before speaking with investigating officers
Additionally, the arresting officer must deliver the child to a juvenile processing center promptly and notify the parent or guardian. Within 48 hours of getting taken into custody, a court or magistrate court will hold a hearing to decide if the offender should get released or remain in detention until the first court appearance.
As a parent or legal guardian, you also have rights if your child gets arrested or detained. These include:
- The right to be present during any questioning of your child
- The right to receive an explanation of your child’s arrest or detainment
- The right to the presence of an attorney
Minor in Possession of Alcohol Law in Texas
An individual under the age of 21 commits an offense if he or she possesses an alcoholic beverage. However, a minor can possess alcohol without getting arrested or prosecuted under the following circumstances:
- It’s a requirement of their job, such as an employee at a restaurant or bar that serves alcohol.
- If a parent, guardian, spouse, or another adult who’s legally responsible for the minor is visibly present.
- If they’re under the supervision of a commissioned peace officer actively enforcing the law. For example, a minor that assists law enforcement in an undercover sting operation.
- If emergency medical assistance is necessary for themself or someone else because of a possible alcohol overdose.
There’s a difference between actual possession and constructive possession under Texas law. A minor in actual possession of alcohol occurs in the following situations:
- When the individual is holding a cup of alcohol in their hand
- When the child is carrying a bottle of liquor in their purse
- When someone underage has a flask in their pocket containing some type of alcoholic beverage
In a situation of constructive possession, a minor is fully aware of the presence of alcohol and has the ability and intent to take ownership of it. Constructive possession includes:
- Driving or riding in a car with alcohol present
- Attending a party where there’s alcohol, but refraining from drinking it
- Sitting at a table where there’s alcohol but not holding it
It’s more challenging to prove because the prosecution must make assumptions about the underage individual’s behavior under those circumstances.
Penalties for Minor in Possession of Alcohol
If it’s the first offense for your son or daughter, they could get convicted of a class C misdemeanor. The penalty is as follows:
- $500 fine
- Community service between 8 and 12 hours
- Attendance in an alcohol awareness class
- Suspension of current driver’s license for 30 days or 30-day delay of issuance of new driver’s license
If prior convictions exist, the following penalties apply to the juvenile:
- $2,000 fine
- No more than 180 days in incarceration
- Community service between 20 and 40 hours
- 60-day license suspension (6-month suspension for two prior convictions)
A prior conviction also exists in situations where a previous MIP charge resulted in a deferred disposition. A deferred disposition is the result of an agreement that the minor is to complete specific tasks required by the judge in exchange for the dismissal of the minor in possession charge. Despite avoiding a conviction, it could remain on your criminal record unless you petition the court to erase it.
Does My Child Need a Lawyer for Their MIP Charge?
Absolutely. Even if you believe your child didn’t commit the offense the officer arrested them for, a lawyer is your best option to get the charges dropped. Seeking representation from Rosenthal Barbieri will help you get through this overwhelming situation and ensure a fair punishment. It’s our goal to try to get the charges against your child reduced or dropped entirely.
When you hire us, we’ll handle all the legal aspects of the case for you. We’ll review the details, gather evidence, and possibly prepare a plea deal. Whether they’re innocent or guilty, sometimes agreeing to a plea is the best option for reducing the charges and maybe even avoiding time spent incarcerated in juvenile facilities.
If the circumstances involve a repeat offender, the case will likely go to trial. It’s tough to strike a deal with the prosecutor or argue for reduced penalties when someone gets arrested multiple times for the same crime. If that’s the case, we’ll use all the resources at our disposal to prepare a strong argument for court. We’ll ensure the protection of your child’s rights and that all evidence presented against them is relevant to the facts of the case.
What To Do Immediately After Your Child Gets Arrested or Detained
You must see your child as soon as you learn of their arrest. If he or she is under police custody, it’s your legal right to be with them during questioning. You should also speak with a lawyer and make sure they’re present during all questioning, as well.
Many underage individuals are impulsive and don’t understand how to handle serious situations like an arrest. They might not realize they’re afforded certain rights and could easily say or do the wrong thing while an officer detains or questions them.
If you hire an experienced lawyer from Rosenthal Barbieri, we will ensure your child doesn’t incriminate themself. We could also negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. We could come up with a plea agreement where you plead guilty to the minor in possession charge or a lesser infraction in exchange for a reduced sentence.
In a plea deal, any of the following penalties could apply:
- Deferred adjudication
- House arrest
- Community service
- Alcohol testing
Multiple factors could affect the type of plea deal you’re able to get. The final agreement between your lawyer and the prosecutor could rely on the following:
- The severity of the minor in possession charges
- If a physical injury resulted
- If the child seemed remorseful for the crime
- The personal impression made on the prosecutor and judge
- Past criminal history
- Any prior or current mental health issues
- The juvenile’s professional and personal situations
- The likelihood of committing another minor in possession offense in the future
How a Collin County Juvenile Defense Lawyer Can Help You
We understand the devastation of finding out your son or daughter has been accused of breaking the law. It’s stressful and frightening not knowing what could happen next. We know you don’t want them to face serious charges and risk their future. At Rosenthal Barbieri, we aim to make this process as stress-free as possible for you and your child.
If your child was charged or arrested with a minor in possession charge, call Rosenthal Barbieri today. We’ll schedule your initial consultation to meet with us and discuss the details of the case. You can depend on us to get you and your child through this. To speak with one of our Collin County juvenile defense lawyers, call us at (972) 369-0577 or reach out online.