How To Fight a Minor in Possession Charge

You can’t have alcohol on your person if you are under the age of 18.If you are caught drinking or under the influence, a police officer will likely write you a citation for “minor in possession.”Minor in possession charges don’t usually result in jail time, but they should still be taken seriously.You could lose your driving privileges for up to a year because it will remain on your record.Since there are few defenses to a minor in possession charge, the best way to fight it is to hire an attorney and negotiate with the prosecutor.

Step 1: You should check your citation.

If you have a minor in possession offense, you won’t be arrested.When you are supposed to be in court, the police officer will write you a citation.This citation will look similar if you’ve gotten a traffic ticket before.When it says you have to be in court, look for it.That’s your hearing.The first hearing in court is the arraignment.The judge will read the charges against you, make sure you understand them, and ask how you plead.You have to be in court for the hearing.If you have to miss school or work, make arrangements as soon as possible.You don’t need to worry about having an attorney if you want one.If you know how to act and what to say, you don’t need to be represented by an attorney.

Step 2: Act in a manner that is appropriate.

You can make a good first impression on the court clerk, judge, prosecutor, and other courtroom staff when you appear in court for the first time.If you’re trying to fight the charge, a bad impression can be hard to overcome.You don’t have to wear a suit or a dress, but you should look presentable.You should treat your court appearance like a job interview.Conservative clothing is clean and neat.The security guards at the entrance to the court should be polite to all court staff.If you’re in court, leave your cell phone at home.You should check with the court to find out if items are allowed in the courthouse.Some courts don’t allow electronic devices at all.

Step 3: There is a seat in the courtroom.

When you get to the courtroom, find a seat in the gallery and wait for your name to be called.Several people are likely to appear on the same charges.If you want to avoid distraction, sit still and quiet.Before they get to you, the judge may call other people.If other people are facing the same charges, you can get a better idea of what to expect when your name is called.The judge interacts with others.Someone who is acting defiant or impolite will learn from their mistakes.

Step 4: The judge should be respected.

You should move to the front of the courtroom when the judge calls your name.Either “sir” or “ma’am” is what you should say to the judge.Don’t interrupt the judge when he or she speaks to you.Speak loudly so the judge can hear you.Good posture is maintained rather than hunching over.You will usually be told your rights as a criminal defendant by the judge.A sheet of paper explaining your rights is likely to be given to you.Listen carefully and pay attention to the judge.If you’re competent to enter your plea, the judge will ask you if you understand your rights.This is important and should not be brushed off.

Step 5: You can enter your plea.

After the judge has read the charges against you and explained the possible penalties for the charge if you are convicted, he or she will ask how you plead.Stand silent or plead not guilty if you want to fight the charge.If you plead guilty, you will waive all of your rights.It isn’t advisable to plead guilty at this time, as you may want the charge to go away.It won’t go away if you plead guilty.Even if you only have to pay a fine, the charge will remain on your criminal record as a conviction, and can affect your ability to get financial aid for school or a job.The judge will tell you when you need to appear in court.You’ll go to pre- trial after you’re in court.There is a meeting with the prosecutor.You don’t have to take the plea deal immediately.Let the prosecutor know if you want to talk to an attorney.

Step 6: You should talk to your parents.

If you want to fight your minor in possession charge, you need a parent’s help to hire an attorney.You might be tempted to handle it on your own and not tell your parents, but this may be a mistake.Although your parents may be upset, they can still make a difference in how the prosecutor and the judge view your case.It will send a signal to your parents that you are serious about the situation.If you can’t afford an attorney, you have a right to have one appointed for you.Even though it is a criminal offense, you don’t face jail time if you are found guilty.If you can, you should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to handle your case.Even if you’re able to hire an attorney on your own, it’s still a good idea to get your parents involved.They can still help even though they are not the client and won’t be allowed to interfere with your case.

Step 7: Schedule a number of initial consultations.

You have a bit of time to find an attorney.You can choose the one that fits the budget you and your parents have set, if you talk to two or three.Most criminal defense attorneys will give you a free initial consultation.The easiest way to find an attorney is to do a search on the internet for criminal defense attorneys in your area who handle minor in possession cases.If you have a friend who has recently been in a similar situation, you might want to ask them if they used an attorney and whether they would recommend the attorney they hired.If you have a minor in possession charge in a college town, you should be able to find several attorneys who handle these types of cases.Do you know if your school has a student legal services clinic?Larger schools are more likely to have a law school.

Step 8: Ask questions.

During the initial consultation, an attorney will talk about their practice and what they can do for you, then ask if you have any questions.You’ll get out of the consultation if you ask more questions.To understand the law in your state, you need an attorney.If you have any strong defenses against the charge, you should tell them the story.You can find out how many cases the attorney has handled that are similar to yours.You need to inquire about the attorney’s fees.Criminal defense attorneys may offer their services for a flat fee for minor possession charges.

Step 9: You interviewed attorneys, compare and contrast them.

You should have the information you need to choose the best attorney to help you fight your minor in possession charge once you’ve interviewed several attorneys.Fees are a factor in choosing an attorney, but they shouldn’t be the sole reason you choose one.You want an attorney who is willing to work for a flat fee over someone who will charge you by the hour.If you know in advance how much you’ll have to pay, it’s easier to budget.You want to avoid any attorney who made you feel intimidated or judgmental.If you have a good working relationship with your attorney, you will get a better outcome.

Step 10: It’s time to make your final selection.

Let them know as soon as possible if you want to hire them.Criminal defense attorneys are very busy and you want to make sure your first choice is still available to take your case.Make sure you get a written retainer agreement that spells out how much you’re paying and what your attorney is going to do for you.You don’t have to meet with your attorney in person, but you may want to.If you meet in person, you can ask them questions or have them explain the agreement to you.Don’t pay your attorney or parents any money until you have a written retainer agreement that you’ve read, understood, and signed.

Step 11: You should meet with your attorney.

Before negotiations with the prosecutor begin, your attorney will want to meet with you to discuss your case.They may have already spoken with the prosecutor to find out what kind of deal is on the table.It’s important that you tell the truth to your attorney.They can help you reach a good result if they know more about you and your background.Your attorney is likely to tell you which points work in your favor and which do not.The points in your favor are emphasized by a good defense attorney.Your attorney may advise you to do certain things, such as getting addiction counseling, even before you meet with the prosecutor, based on your story.Even if you don’t think you have an alcohol problem, going to treatment or voluntary counseling will send a signal to the prosecutor that you want to get help.

Step 12: The prosecutor has an offer.

A plea-bargain offer will likely be presented to you when you have your first pre- trial meeting with the prosecutor.It won’t be the best they can offer.If you’ve gotten to this point, it means that the prosecutor is reasonably confident that they will get a conviction at trial.In regards to an initial plea-bargaining offer, prosecutors may not be willing to be generous with you.The prosecutor doesn’t like the idea of dragging your case out through a jury trial, so they want to get it off their desk.You can bargain for a better deal with the help of your attorney.

Step 13: Plead your case.

The information in the police report and court documents is what the prosecutor knows about you.Once they hear your story, the prosecutor may be willing to reduce or even drop the charges.If this is your first offense, you are more likely to get a better deal than if it’s your second or third offense.If you have a previous minor in possession charge, any other brushes with the law may affect your ability to strike a good deal.Your attorney will want to show you as a good kid who followed the rules and was generally responsible, but who made a mistake or was in the wrong place.It is possible to convince the prosecutor to either dismiss the charges or at least make an arrangement to keep a conviction off your record if your background includes a job, grades in school, and extracurricular activities.

Step 14: Attempt to get a deferred sentence.

A deferred sentence is the best way to keep the charge off your record.The charge will be dropped if you meet all the terms and conditions for a period of time.When you get a deferred sentence, you are guilty of the crime, but don’t have to go to jail, and then your conviction is deferred for a number of months or years.You will be on parole during that time.If you want to get addiction counseling, you may have to complete a certain number of hours of community service.The conviction won’t go on your record if you complete the period successfully.If the minor in possession charge is your first brush with the law, you are more likely to get a deferred sentence.

Step 15: You must be willing to comply with the terms.

If you want to avoid further consequences, you need to comply with the terms of your supervised release.Even though a minor in possession charge is not an offense that carries jail time, a violation of a supervised release may land you in jail.The deal may be revoked if you violate any of the terms and conditions.You can still be found guilty of the minor in possession charge.If you got deferred sentencing, you have to return to court once your term is over.The conviction will not be entered on your criminal record if the judge is satisfied with your conduct.