Minor In Possession

Overview of Minor In Possession Charges and Allegations in Everett, Lynnwood, Marysville and the Rest of Snohomish County, Washington, as well as Skagit County and King County

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Minor in Possession (MIP), Minor in Consumption (MIC) and Furnishing Liquor to Minors

Alleged alcohol crimes involving minors in Washington State, particularly Snohomish and Skagit Counties

Ashbach Law Offices, LLC has extensive, successful history representing clients charged with a violation of the MIP statute, including numerous dismissals and other non-conviction results.

The crime of Minor in Possession (MIP) in Washington is found under RCW 66.44.270, which is actually titled “Furnishing Liquor to Minors.” A minor for the purpose of this statute is anyone under the age of 21. This statute seeks to not only punish minors who are in possession of alcohol (MIP) and minors who have consumed alcohol (minor in consumption – MIC), but also any person who has sold, given, or supplied alcohol to a minor.

The “minor in possession” subsection states that it is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 to possess, consume, or otherwise acquire any liquor.

The “minor in consumption” subsection makes it unlawful for a person under the age of 21 to be in public (or in a motor vehicle in public) while exhibiting the effects of alcohol. “Exhibiting the effects of alcohol” can be shown by having the odor of alcohol on one’s breath, and either a) being in close proximity to a liquor container, or b) by appearance be exhibiting effects of being under the influence of liquor.

Minor in Possession (and other crimes in this statute) is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5000 fine, with a possibility of up to two years probation if the defendant is in fact convicted.

Possible defenses include being supplied alcohol by a parent or guardian when the liquor is consumed in that parent or guardian’s presence, or if the alcohol is being given for medicinal purposes. Also, if the alcohol is part of a religious service and is in the minimal amount necessary, the statute does not apply.

In addition to criminal penalties, there are significant non-criminal penalties imposed by the Department of Licensing. For the Department of Licensing penalties to apply, the defendant not even need be convicted. Signing a diversion agreement is enough to trigger DOL sanctions. If a minor (for DOL purposes, a person under 18) is convicted or signs a diversion agreement for an MIP charge, the minor’s license will be suspended for 1 year (or until the 17th birthday, whichever is longer). For a second offense, suspension is for two years (or until the 18th birthday, whichever is longer). IT IS POSSIBLE TO GET EARLY REINSTATEMENT, however. There is no hearing or appeal available, but you can ask for administrative review to ensure they have correctly identified the right person.

MIP convictions can also disqualify a person from various types of jobs, including becoming a teacher.

Ashbach Law Offices, LLC has offices in Everett, Washington, Marysville, Washington and Burlington, Washington, and has extensive history successfully representing clients charged with Minor in Possession (MIP), Minor in Consumption (MIC) and Furnishing Liquor to Minors charges in Skagit and Snohomish Counties.

RCW 66.44.270 - Furnishing liquor to minors — Possession, use — Penalties — Exhibition of effects — Exceptions.

  • (1) It is unlawful for any person to sell, give, or otherwise supply liquor to any person under the age of twenty-one years or permit any person under that age to consume liquor on his or her premises or on any premises under his or her control. For the purposes of this subsection, "premises" includes real property, houses, buildings, and other structures, and motor vehicles and watercraft. A violation of this subsection is a gross misdemeanor punishable as provided for in chapter 9A.20 RCW.
  • (2)
    • (a) It is unlawful for any person under the age of twenty-one years to possess, consume, or otherwise acquire any liquor. A violation of this subsection is a gross misdemeanor punishable as provided for in chapter 9A.20 RCW.
    • (b) It is unlawful for a person under the age of twenty-one years to be in a public place, or to be in a motor vehicle in a public place, while exhibiting the effects of having consumed liquor. For purposes of this subsection, exhibiting the effects of having consumed liquor means that a person has the odor of liquor on his or her breath and either: (i) Is in possession of or close proximity to a container that has or recently had liquor in it; or (ii) by speech, manner, appearance, behavior, lack of coordination, or otherwise, exhibits that he or she is under the influence of liquor. This subsection (2)(b) does not apply if the person is in the presence of a parent or guardian or has consumed or is consuming liquor under circumstances described in subsection (4) or (5) of this section.
  • (3) Subsections (1) and (2)(a) of this section do not apply to liquor given or permitted to be given to a person under the age of twenty-one years by a parent or guardian and consumed in the presence of the parent or guardian. This subsection shall not authorize consumption or possession of liquor by a person under the age of twenty-one years on any premises licensed under chapter 66.24 RCW.
  • (4) This section does not apply to liquor given for medicinal purposes to a person under the age of twenty-one years by a parent, guardian, physician, or dentist.
  • (5) This section does not apply to liquor given to a person under the age of twenty-one years when such liquor is being used in connection with religious services and the amount consumed is the minimal amount necessary for the religious service.
  • (6) Conviction or forfeiture of bail for a violation of this section by a person under the age of twenty-one years at the time of such conviction or forfeiture shall not be a disqualification of that person to acquire a license to sell or dispense any liquor after that person has attained the age of twenty-one years.

STRONG, EFFECTIVE & PROVEN

Ashbach Law Offices, LLC, aggressively represents clients throughout the Washington I-5 corridor, covering Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. Regular courts of practice include, but are not limited to, Anacortes, Arlington, Bellevue, Bellingham, Blaine, Burlington, Edmonds, Everett, Issaquah, Lake Stevens Lynnwood, Marysville, Monroe, Mount Vernon, Mountlake Terrance, Redmond, Seattle, Sedro Woolley and Shoreline.

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