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DUI Minor win possession and stopped by police
Washington State

DUI Minor

Washington law, like the laws of the other forty-nine states, does not allow minors to drink or possess alcohol. The legal drinking age is 21, and anyone under that age is viewed as a “minor” for the purposes of prosecuting the offense of “minor in possession” of alcohol (MIP). The state may also charge a minor under the age of 18 with MIP for possession of illegal drugs. If a defendant in an MIP case was under the age of 18 when the alleged offense occurred, the case goes through the juvenile court system. Alcohol-related MIPs that allegedly occur when the defendant in at least 18, but younger than 21, go through the regular criminal court system.
Minor in Possession in Washington
Washington law defines the offense of a Minor In Possession (MIP) as the possession of alcohol by anyone who is at least 13 years old, up to 20 years old, or the possession of illegal drugs by anyone under the age of 18. An alleged MIP offense involving alcohol rarely results in an arrest or a trip to jail, particularly if the suspect is under 18. Police usually issue a ticket and may call the suspect’s parent or guardian to come pick them up.
Penalties for Minor in Possession in Washington

If the defendant was under the age of 18, and therefore legally a “juvenile” at the time the alleged offense occurred, the case will go through the juvenile courts. In many cases, particularly those involving a defendant with no prior juvenile convictions, the defendant may be able to go through the diversion program. Rather than being adjudicated in court, the case would then go before a community diversion board. The diversion board would decide on a punishment, which could include a term of confinement, a fine, community service, or chemical dependency evaluation.

For defendants who were at least 18 years old when the alleged offense occurred, an MIP is treated as a gross misdemeanor offense in the regular criminal court system. A gross misdemeanor has a maximum penalty of 364 days in county jail and/or a $5,000 fine, although first offenses for MIP are unlikely to yield such a punishment.

License Revocation for Minor in Possession in Washington
The state may revoke the driver’s license of someone found guilty of MIP, even if the actual offense did not involve driving. Revocation for a first offense lasts until the longer of one year or the defendant’s 17th birthday. For a second offense, the revocation lasts for two years or until the defendant’s 18th birthday. Once an individual turns 21, they may request release of their license revocation. Defendants may apply for early reinstatement of their license, and they may request administrative review of a license revocation decision.

If you are facing criminal charges, it is crucial to have effective representation immediately. An alleged DUI charge does not mean Guilty!

Even if you think the facts of the case aren’t in your favor, having the best possible criminal representation can be the difference between jail time and probation, or having your record destroyed with an avoidable felony or misdemeanor conviction. At Snohomish Law Group, our criminal defense attorneys give you time and attention, to ensure you are treated fairly under the criminal justice system.

We know State DUI Laws

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Unlike lawyers at other law firms, our lawyers have dealt with thousands of cases, litigating matters of a wide range of severities and we have delivered important victories to our clients. Our reputation as aggressive, zealous advocates in the courtroom allows us to deliver results to our clients.

Our goal is to fight for and to deliver to you the best results possible, whether that be by way of an acquittal or favorable judgement at trial, a favorable settlement deal, or an outright dismissal. Unlike other firms, we will give you our all. There is no such thing as a case that is too big or too small.

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