Minor in possession (MIP)of alcohol affects your license. California Vehicle Code 13202.5 states that the Judge SHALL suspend the license for one year of anyone under 21 years of age convicted of certain drug and alcohol offenses like MIP, regardless whether they were driving at the time. The Court can grant a resricted license for work and school etc. for a minor in possession case, however it needs to be addressed in negotiations or at sentencing.
MIP is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months jail and $1000 fine, however jail is not generally imposed, see California Business and Professions Code 25662 (a) for a complete review of the law. Many times minor in possession of alcohol gets filed as an infraction, where there is only a fine and license suspesnion. As an infraction, you do not have a right to a Jury trial, commissioner or Judge alone. It is less serious and is not a misdemeanor which is a more serious offense. Setting these cases as infractions for trial, accomplishes two things. It can result in a dismissal if the officer does not show, and if he does, it allows any defense to be aired. Many times at infraction trials, if the officer is present the Judge will indicate that he will allow a restricted license if you wwant to resolve it before trial, he still may allow it later but there is a risk.
Often attorneys may object to an infraction filing and the Court will then reinstate the misdemeanor. Few Traffic Courts have any negotiations possible. The reason this is done is to get it into the Misdemeanor Court instead of the Traffic Court where it can be negotiated to a non alcohol offense as an infraction with no suspension, or even dismissed with some AA meetings. It is a risky strategy, but attorneys who do these regularly know exactly what will happen before they do it. Attorneys Nicholas and William Christoph handle these regularly in the Vista and San Diego Courts for over 30 years and can help get the best resolution. Call 760-670-3885 for a free consultation.