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Minor in Possession of Alcohol - Utah Criminal Charges

Utah Criminal Defense Attorney for MIP in Salt Lake City

Under Utah criminal law, it is unlawful for a minor to possess or consume alcohol, or to have any measurable concentration of alcohol as determined by a breath, blood, or urine test. Sometimes referred to as "consumption by a minor," "minor in possession," or "MIP," a misdemeanor conviction can result in losing your driver's license, substantial fines, and even jail time. The consequences of conviction can be severe. Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation with Utah criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard.

Adults as "Minors" under Utah Alcohol Laws

Utah Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP) Attorney Salt LakeFor most legal purposes, a person is considered to be an adult upon reaching the age of 18. However, Utah law provides an exception to this rule for purposes of possession or consumption of alcohol. For purposes of these statutes, a person is still considered a "minor" until the age of 21.

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

Evidence of a Crime - Minor in Possession in Utah

In many Utah MIP cases, police base their case on evidence that the minor had consumed alcohol. Often, by the time police arrive to investigate, any alcohol has been consumed or removed from the premises. In such cases, police may rely on admissions by the minor to prove that the person had consumed alcohol. Police may also attempt to administer a blood, breath or urine test to determine whether the minor has consumed alcohol.

If you are a minor suspected of having consumed alcohol, you have a Constitutional right under the 5th Amendment to decline to answer questions or speak with the officers regarding criminal allegations.You also have the right under the 4th Amendment to refuse to submit to testing for alcohol without a warrant. (Note, however, that Utah's implied consent rules provide severe penalties for individuals suspected of DUI who refuse to take a chemical test for the detection of alcohol.)

Driver License Suspensions for Minor in Possession in Utah

A conviction for possession of alcohol by a minor can result in a suspension of your driver license, even if the offense had nothing to do with driving a vehicle. But the length of this suspension can be shortened if it is for a first-time MIP offense and if the minor completes an alcohol educational series. For a second or subsequent MIP conviction, 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.

Find a Utah MIP Defense Lawyer in Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Attorney Salt LakeIf you are facing charges for possession of alcohol by a minor, contact us now to schedule an initial consultation. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard offers legal services to clients throughout all of Utah. He has successfully defended clients facing charges ranging from homicide to misdemeanor alcohol charges. His track record speaks for itself.


Analysis of Utah Code 32B-4-409

Unlawful Purchase, Possession, or Consumption of Alcohol by Minor - Measurable Amounts in Body

Utah Code 32B-4-409 presents a variety of ways in which a minor (at least 18 years old but under the age of 21) can be criminally charged in connection with alcohol or alcoholic beverages.

Subsection (1) of this statute prohibits the purchase, attempt to purchase, soliciting of another person to purchase, possession, or consumption of an alcoholic product. Subsection (1) also creates criminal penalties for a minor who has any "measurable" concentration of alcohol in the minor's body as shown by a blood, breath, or urine test.

Subsection (2) addresses misrepresentations of a minor's age for the purpose of obtaining an alcoholic product. This subsection creates criminal penalties both for a minor who misrepresents his or her own age, as well as any other person who misrepresents the age of a minor.

Subsection (3) specifically provides criminal penalties for a minor who possesses or consumes an alcoholic product while riding in a "limousine or chartered bus." This conduct, however, is already prohibited under subsection (1) of this statute.

Subsection (4) provides sentencing requirements for repeat MIP offenders. Specifically, these subsection requires a court to order participation in a substance abuse screening and educational series if a minor has been previously convicted of a violation of Utah's minor in possession statute.

Subsection (5) provides rules governing a driver license suspension for defendant's convicted for violating this section when the defendant is a minor at least 18 years of age but younger than 21 years. This section of Utah's minor in possession statute allows a court to reduce the length of the driver license suspension. For a first-time offense, the court may require the completion of an educational series (such as Prime for Life). For a second or subsequent offense, the court may require the filing of a sworn affidavit certifying that the minor has not consumed alcohol for at least one year during the license suspension period.

Subsection (6) makes reference to the Utah Juvenile Court Act, and provides that a minor under the age of 18 who violates this statute may be subject to a driver license suspension under Utah Code 78A-6-606.

Subsection (7) provides that the Driver License Division must suspend the defendant's driving privileges when the court has ordered such suspension for violating Utah's minor in possession statute. Such suspension is made pursuant to Utah Code 53-3-219.

Subsection (8) provides for additional suspensions of a like period of time for a person who is convicted of a driving offense while the person's driver license was suspended based on a violation of Utah's minor in possession statute.

Subsection (9) provides limited exceptions to Utah's minor in possession statute, which can allow a minor to consume an alcoholic product for medicinal purposes. The exceptions also allows a minor to consume alcohol as part of a religious organization's religious services.

Review the full text of Utah Code 32B-4-409 or contact us for more information on defending MIP charges in Salt Lake City.

Choosing a Utah Minor in Possession of Alcohol Attorney

Salt Lake Open Container Alcohol LawyerIf you are facing prosecution for MIP or other criminal charges in Utah, an experienced criminal defense attorney can be critical to a achieving a successful outcome. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal lawyer Stephen Howard has protected his clients' rights in cases ranging from murder to DUI and virtually everything in between.

Call us today at 801-449-1409 to arrange for an initial confidential consultation.

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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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