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Possession of Alcohol by a Minor - Ogden Defense Attorney

MIP - Utah Criminal Defense Attorney in Ogden

A minor is prohibited under Utah criminal law from possessing or consuming alcohol, or having any measurable concentration of alcohol as determined by a breath, blood, or urine tests. Often called "consumption by a minor," "minor in possession," or "MIP," this criminal charge is a misdemeanor that carries with it severe consequences including substantial fines, losing your driver’s license, and even time in jail.

If you are facing alcohol charges in Ogden or elsewhere in Utah, contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with Utah criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard.

Adults as “Minors” under Utah Alcohol Laws

MIP Criminal Defense AttorneyA person who reaches the age of 18 is, for most legal purposes, considered an adult. However, Utah law provides an exception to this rule in the context of a criminal charge for the possession or consumption of alcohol. For these purposes of criminal prosecution, a person is still considered a "minor" until the age of 21.

In addition to just "possession" of alcohol, Utah law also makes it a crime for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase, attempt to purchase, or to solicit another person to purchase an alcoholic product. Giving alcohol to a person under the age of 18 can also result in charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Evidence of to Support an MIP Charge

Because our state and federal constitutions both provide for a presumption of innocence, the police must support an MIP allegation with evidence. The evidence can come in the form of an admission by the defendant, testimony from a witness, physical evidence found by police, chemical test results, and more.

Often, police will arrive to investigate after any alcohol has been consumed or removed from the premises. In such circumstances, the police may have to depend on admissions made by those on the scene to prove that a minor had consumed alcohol. In some cases, police will try to administer a blood, breath, or urine test to detect the presence of alcohol or an alcohol metabolite. Without a warrant, the results of such tests may be subject to a motion to suppress.

Any minor suspected of consuming alcohol has important constitutional rights. Under the Fifth amendment you have the right to refuse to answer questions or speak to the police officer about the alleged criminal activity. The Fourth amendment provides you the right to decline chemical testing for alcohol without a warrant. (Please be aware that Utah's implied consent rules provide penalties for individuals suspected of DUI who refuse to take a chemical test for the detection of alcohol.)

MIP and the Suspensions of your Driver’s License in Utah

A conviction for possession of alcohol by a minor can result in a driver license suspension, even if the offense did not involve a vehicle. With a first MIP offense, a minor can complete an alcohol education class which can shorten the length of the driver license suspension. For subsequent MIP convictions, a court may require a sworn affidavit certifying that the defendant has not consumed alcohol for at least one year during the period of the driver license suspension.

Ogden Criminal Defense Lawyer - Alcohol Charges

Stephen Howard has handled thousands of criminal cases in Ogden, Salt Lake, and other cities in Utah. His track record includes serious felony cases such as murder, aggravated robbery, burglary, white collar fraud, and much more. He also handles misdemeanor charges for clients throughout Utah.

If you are facing alcohol charges in Ogden or elsewhere, contact us now to see how we can help you.


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  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense Trial AttorneyNot Guilty - Client was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly pointing handgun at and threatening another driver during a road rage incident. Defense investigation and analysis, combined with effective cross-examination at trial indicated the alleged victim was the initial aggressor and suported client's self-defense claim. Jury acquitted client at trial.
  • Minor Possession Alcohol - MIP AttorneyDismissed - Minor in possession charge (MIP) was dismissed by prosecutor when defense analysis demonstrated that the police had failed to obtain necessary evidence against client. Police had raided a large party involving underage drinking. Several individuals were charged, but police did not obtain evidence showing that client had personally consumed or possessed alcohol. Case was dismissed.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Salt Lake Davis Expunged - Client with prior conviction for violent felony was ineligible for expungement through the courts. A successful 2-step reduction restored expungement eligibility and ultimately led to the court's decision to grant the requested expungement.
  • Felony Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony charge and possible life in prison for child kidnapping. Full defense analysis of the case revealed critical legal flaws in the prosecution's case. When confronted with the defense legal analysis, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case outright without trial.
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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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