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Minor in Possession of Alcohol - Utah Criminal Defense

Utah Defense Attorney for MIP in Davis County

It is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcohol under Utah law. Criminal charges can also be brought against a minor based on a finding of any concentration of alcohol in the body as measured by blood, urine or breath tests. A charge for "minor in possession" (sometimes referred to as "MIP") is a misdemeanor criminal offense with serious potential consequences including jail time, heavy fines, a suspended driver license, and more. Contact Davis County criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard today to see what the right attorney can do for you.

Adults as "Minors" under Utah Alcohol Laws

Utah Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP) Attorney Salt LakeFor most purposes, any person over the age of 18 is legally considered to be an adult. However, in Utah, when it comes to the consumption or possession of alcohol, a person is still considered a “minor” until age 21.

Utah law makes it illegal for any minor (a person under the age of 21) to consume, purchase, attempt to purchase, or ask another person to purchase alcohol. An adult who provides alcohol to a minor can also be charged with a crime.

Evidence of a Crime - Minor in Possession in Davis County

In some Utah MIP cases, police catch the suspected minor "in the act" - they have a can or bottle of beer in their hand. But in many Utah MIP cases, police and prosecutors base their case on evidence that the minor had previously consumed alcohol. By the time police arrive at the scene, bottles, cans, etc. may have already been disposed of. Or, police may find the suspected minor in a location other than where it is alleged that the minor consumed the alcohol.

In such cases, police may use the minor's own admissions against him/her. Police may also request consent to administer a breath test, or to take a blood or urine sample to test for alcohol.

The Fifth Amendment guarantees the privilege against self-incrimination. This means that you are not obligated to answer questions posed by a police officer (other than telling the officer your true name). If a police officer wants to question you regarding possible consumption of alcohol, you are free to politely decline to answer questions or make any statement.

The Fourth Amendment provides guarantees against unreasonable warrantless searches and seizures. Breath, blood, or urine tests for alcohol have been found by Utah courts to fall under the protection of the Fourth Amendment. If the police officer does not have a warrant, you are free to decline a request to submit to one of these tests. (Note that Utah's implied consent law regarding driving, DUI, and driver licenses does not apply to cases only involving allegations of possession or consumption of alcohol by a minor.)

If police have violated your Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights in conducting their investigation, a motion to suppress evidence may be appropriate. The likelihood of success on a motion to suppress will depend on the specific facts of your case. Small differences in the facts can make a big difference in the potential outcome. The assistance of an experienced criminal attorney can help you determine the best strategy for defending your case and protecting your rights.

Driver License Suspensions for Minor in Possession in Davis County

Your driver license can be suspended if you are convicted of possessing or consuming alcohol as a minor - even if a vehicle was never involved in the offense. Depending on the circumstances of the case, it is sometimes possible to avoid a driver license suspension entirely. But if you have already had your license suspended for a first-time MIP charge, it may be possible to have the duration of the suspension decreased.

Find a Utah MIP Defense Lawyer in Davis County

Salt Lake Open Container Alcohol LawyerIf you are facing prosecution in Davis County for possession or consumption of alcohol by a minor, or other misdemeanor or felony charges, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can be critical to achieving the best outcome for your case. Contact us today to see how we can help.


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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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