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Being charged with Minor in Possession of alcohol is not an uncommon criminal charge in Whatcom County. The proximity to both Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College results in a relatively high number of MIP charges in both Bellingham Municipal Court and Whatcom County District Court. The charge of MIP may, at first glance, not seem to be particularly serious but this would be taking a short sighted view of your future. Any criminal charge, particularly one connected with alcohol or drugs, may negatively impact your future and even future employment. Further, a conviction of MIP may even impact your ability to obtain student loans or travel to foreign countries. Finally, if you are 17 years of age or under, you will lose your driving privilege if convicted of MIP. Therefore, take the charge seriously and do everything you can to get the charge dismissed. We are a team of experienced criminal defense lawyers and staff with more than 50 years of criminal court room experience. David Jolly is a local Bellingham attorney who has also authored 25 DUI and Traffic Law books. We offer reasonable fees and generous payment plans.
An alcohol evaluation may be required with any MIP charge so be sure the best treatment center is chosen. Additionally, what will be required with a great degree of certainty is the completion of the 8-hour alcohol drug information school (ADIS class).
If you are 17 years of age or younger and are convicted of minor in possession you will lose your license. However, if you are older than 17 but less than 21 years of age there is no danger of losing your license if charged or convicted of Minor in Possession.
The Department of Licensing takes Minor in Possession charges very seriously. If you are 17 years of age or under and possess a driver's license, you will lose your license if convicted of MIP. Further, if you enter into a diversion program in Whatcom County and are not actually convicted of the crime, you will still lose your license if you are 16 or 17 years of age. If a conviction or diversion agreement (also called a "stipulated order of continuance") occurs, the Washington Department of Licensing will revoke your driver's license and a mail you a letter explaining the revocation and list a series of options that you have for reinstating your license early. However, if you get to this point you have gone to far. This is why you need a Whatcom County criminal defense lawyer to properly defend the charge before any license suspension occurs.
The consequences of a revoked driver's license are many and include that fact that you cannot drive while your license is suspended you cannot apply for a driver license or instruction permit while your license is revoked, and if this occurs you must surrender your driver's license to a driver licensing office immediately.
Because of the serious consequences of a minor in Possession charge, including but most certainly not limited to the loss of license, it is imperative you contact a Whatcom County MIP criminal defense attorney to discuss your options before you appear in court.