Minor in Possession (MIP) charges – BP 25662(a)

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Minor in Possession (MIP) charges – BP 25662(a)

Minor in Possession Charges

A minor in possession of alcohol, depending on the age of the minor, doesn’t seem like the biggest crime in the world to most people.  But to the State of California, it’s more serious.  An underage DUI can be filed as an infraction (like a traffic ticket).  A Minor in Possession, sometimes called an MIP, is a misdemeanor under Business and Professions code BP25662(a).

What does the law say?

Business and Professions Code BP 25662a states:

Except as provided in Section 25667 or 25668, any person under 21 years of age who has any alcoholic beverage in his or her possession on any street or highway or in any public place or in any place open to the public is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250) or the person shall be required to perform not less than 24 hours or more than 32 hours of community service during hours when the person is not employed or is not attending school.

A second or subsequent violation shall be punishable as a misdemeanor and the person shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or required to perform not less than 36 hours or more than 48 hours of community service during hours when the person is not employed or is not attending school, or a combination of fine and community service as the court deems just.

It is the intent of the Legislature that the community service requirements prescribed in this section require service at an alcohol or drug treatment program or facility or at a county coroner’s office, if available, in the area where the violation occurred or where the person resides.

This section does not apply to possession by a person under 21 years of age making a delivery of an alcoholic beverage in pursuance of the order of his or her parent, responsible adult relative, or any other adult designated by the parent or legal guardian, or in pursuance of his or her employment. That person shall have a complete defense if he or she was following, in a timely manner, the reasonable instructions of his or her parent, legal guardian, responsible adult relative, or adult designee relating to disposition of the alcoholic beverage.

What is the punishment for Minor in Possession (MIP) charges – BP 25662(a)?

As you can see from the above, the punishment is as follows:

First offense:

A fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250) or the person shall be required to perform not less than 24 hours or more than 32 hours of community service during hours when the person is not employed or is not attending school. (Note that the court adds a tax that substantially increases that fine amount).

Second offense:

A second or subsequent violation shall be punishable as a misdemeanor and the person shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or required to perform not less than 36 hours or more than 48 hours of community service. (Note that the court adds a tax that substantially increases that fine amount).

As you can see from the above, the law states that the community service is an “either or” from the fine.  You can either pay the fine, or do the community service.  But when you do the community service, the law states a preference for work related to alcohol or drug education or rehabilitation, or work at the coroner’s office.  That is an instruction to judges to have that service ordered before any alternatives.

In Orange County courts, judges normally sentence to the Youthful Drug Alcohol Deterrence (YDAD) program.  In Los Angeles County, the sentence normally is to the Hospital and Morgue Program (HAM).

What are the defenses to a Minor in Possession charge?

Defenses to a Minor in Possession, (MIP), Business and Professions code BP25662(a) would be any of the following:

  • The person cited or arrested was not actually a minor;
  • The item in the possession of the minor was not actually alcohol;
  • The minor was carrying the alcohol under the instruction of an adult, for that adult; and
  • The minor has enough mitigating evidence, that he or she should be eligible to earn a dismissal, a reduction, or diversion, avoiding a license suspension and avoiding a criminal record.

How can an attorney help?

An defense attorney helping a client who is facing a Minor in Possession, (MIP), Business and Professions code BP25662(a), would look at the facts of the case and the elements of the law, and challenge the case.  In many cases, actually, attorneys use their negotiating skills to avoid a criminal record, and the mandatory one year license suspension that comes with this charge, by presenting evidence about the individual, and pushing for a dismissal, a reduction, or diversion of the charge, eventually dismissing it after certain conditions.

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Contact us today.  If you know someone facing a MIP Minor in Possession charge, we can help them by presenting a defense to the charges, and protecting against the harsh punishment this law entails.

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