Reduce the Chances Your Child Will Suffer Harsh Consequences Under Wyoming Drinking Laws By Seeking Counsel Right Away
Any time police charge a minor with a crime, the potential exists to ruin the child’s life. Minor in possession charges, or MIP, is no different.
It would be easy to dismiss MIP charges because consuming alcohol as a minor is considered by some as a right of passage, especially on college campuses.
Wyoming prosecutors disagree. They fight to impose tough sanctions on underage drinkers under Wyoming’s MIP drinking laws.
MIP charges involve a broad spectrum of criminal offenses under Wyoming’s alcohol laws that could carry significant consequences for your child.
Avoiding the harshest MIP consequences should be your primary concern. Accordingly, you must retain the services of a dedicated and knowledgeable Wyoming criminal defense lawyer to help keep your child from enduring life-long fallout as a result of a simple, albeit familiar, mistake.
What Are Wyoming’s MIP Laws?
Wyoming drinking laws set the state’s legal drinking age at 21. Until a person reaches 21 years of age, Wyoming alcohol law prohibits:
- Purchasing, or attempting to purchase, alcohol or malt liquor;
- Asking or soliciting another person to purchase alcohol or malt liquor;
- Possessing any alcoholic drink or malt liquor;
- Consuming any ethyl alcohol;
- Having any amount of alcohol in their body measured by blood, breath, or urine; or
- Entering or remaining in an establishment that primarily serves alcohol without the accompaniment of a parent or guardian who is 21 or older.
Wyoming’s MIP alcohol laws do not distinguish between having alcohol in public versus drinking in a private home.
Wyoming’s MIP drinking laws are strict, but the law includes exceptions to its zero-tolerance policy. State laws do not prohibit an underage person from drinking alcohol provided by a parent, taken during a religious service, or prescribed by a physician with a parent’s consent. Additionally, people under 21 may serve alcohol if 18 or older or deliver alcohol as part of their job.
MIP Consequences After a Conviction
Any person convicted of MIP or a related offense under Wyoming drinking laws is guilty of a misdemeanor. Anyone who falsifies an identification card or other identification issued by the government is also subject to misdemeanor sanctions.
The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor conviction is six months in jail along with a fine of not more than $750. Additionally, a judge could order the person charged to attend alcohol treatment or counseling. The judge could order your child to be on probation and to perform community service as well.
Additional MIP Consequences
The MIP consequences extend beyond those imposed by a judge. Even a misdemeanor conviction could have severe repercussions. A conviction for a misdemeanor in Wyoming could restrict your child’s future opportunities. Your child must disclose convictions on college and job applications.
Getting a good education and successfully entering the workforce is difficult enough without a MIP conviction on your child’s record. Also, a conviction for MIP remains on your child’s record.
That means if they face additional criminal charges in the future, the court will consider MIP as a first offense. Accordingly, the judge might not give your child another break in the future.
Underage Drinking and Driving
Wyoming law punishes a person under 21 years of age for driving a motor vehicle with a blood, urine, or breath alcohol content of 0.02% or greater. The law reflects Wyoming’s zero-tolerance policy against underage drinking. The maximum penalty for this offense is a $750 fine for the first offense.
The penalties increase with subsequent offenses. The offender may serve up to one month in jail for a second offense within one year of the first offense.
A third offense within two years of the first offense could result in a six-month jail sentence. The judge could also place the offender on probation for up to three years and order substance abuse counseling.
The state must suspend the driver license of a person convicted for underage drinking and driving. Moreover, the judge may order the person to install an interlocking ignition device in their car as part of their sentence.
A person under 21 convicted of DUI, rather than underage drinking and driving, faces even stiffer consequences. Police can charge a person under 21 with DUI if the driver has a BAC of 0.08% or drove unsafely because of alcohol consumption. The judge could sentence your child to no more than six months in jail and a $750 fine and compel them to attend substance abuse counseling.
How Much Is a MIP?
The cost of defending MIP charges depends on the facts of each case. Some cases might be easier to defend than others. One thing is sure: the cost of defending your child now pales compared to the potential cost of your child having a criminal record for a MIP conviction.
Trying to resolve the case without experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense counsel by your child’s side could prove to be a huge mistake. Do not compound your child’s error by thinking you can take care of this problem without consulting a seasoned attorney first.
Avoiding MIP Consequences Begins By Contacting Us Today
Contact attorney Jeremy Hugus and his winning defense team with Cowboy Country Criminal Defense right away if your child faces MIP charges.
Jeremy and his staff will immediately strategize a defense for your child to help them avoid MIP consequences. Call Jeremy Hugus and Cowboy Country Criminal Defense today at 307-243-4978.