Charged with Being a Minor In Possession of Alcohol, Minor Transporting Alcohol, Using A Fake I.D. To Purchase Alcohol?
Amherst & Northampton Defense Attorney
In Massachusetts, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess, purchase, or transport alcohol.
Minors caught breaking the law in the Commonwealth will most likely be charged with a misdemeanor crime and can face penalties in the form of:
- monetary fines
- suspended drivers license
- enrollment in alcohol education classes
- community service
A first time MIP violation may not result in jail time, but it can certainly wreak havoc on a young adult’s future prospects.
A criminal offense on a minor’s record can potentially impact their ability to:
- get accepted to college
- receive scholarships or loans
- secure housing
- get hired by an employer
- pursue any other opportunity that may require a background check
If you or a loved one is facing a minor in possession of alcohol (MIP) charge in the state of Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Thomas Kokonowski, Esq. today 413.549.0022 (Amherst) 413.585.9200 (Northampton) or 413.737.9700 (Springfield), so we can begin discussing a strategy to fight the case against you.
Our Principal Attorney Kokonowski relies on 20 years of experience as a former prosecutor to help young adults avoid convictions and keep their records clean.
Massachusetts Statutes Against Underage Drinking
- A minor in Massachusetts may not purchase, attempt to purchase, or arrange for someone else to purchase alcoholic liquor on the minor’s behalf (Ma. Gen. Laws Ann. 138 Section 34A.)
- A minor cannot knowingly possess, transport, or carry alcohol (Ma. Gen. Laws Ann. 138 Section 34C.)
- A minor cannot make false statements about age (or induce others to do so) in order to obtain alcohol (Ma. Gen. Laws Ann. 138 Section 34A.)
- A minor may not use fraudulent identification to obtain alcohol
Do You Need a Lawyer for Defending Possession Charges in Northampton?
Penalties For Minor In Possession of Alcohol
A conviction for a MIP is a misdemeanor and penalties vary according to the type of charge.
Possessing, purchasing or transporting alcohol:
- $50 fine for first offense
- $250 for second and subsequent offenses
- License suspended for 90 days
Attempting, arranging, or purchasing alcohol; using false identification or misrepresenting age to obtain alcohol:
- $300 fine
- License suspended for 180 days
Using fraudulent identification to obtain alcohol:
- A jail sentence that can go as high as 3 months
- A fine not exceeding $200
You May Be Exempt From A MIP Charge If:
- You are between 18 and 21 years old and are employed by an establishment licensed to sell alcohol. As an employee, you can lawfully handle, sell, knowingly possess, transport, or carry—but not consume—alcohol (Ma. Gen. Laws Ann. 138 Section 34 &34C.)
- You are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, you can knowingly possess, transport, or carry—but not consume—alcohol (Ma. Gen. Laws Ann. 138 Section 34C.)
Fighting A MIP Charge
In order to have a chance at having the charges against you or a loved one reduced or dismissed altogether, it’s important to have a skilled lawyer advocating on your behalf.
Attorney Kokonowski is a tough former prosecutor who can effectively develop defense strategies to prevent a criminal charge or arrest from ever appearing on your record.
In his experience with the courts in Massachusetts, Kokonowski has been able to effectively enroll MIP offenders in a diversion program as an alternative to harsher penalties.
A diversion program is available for juveniles between the ages of 17 to 21 who agree to participate in community service hours and possibly alcohol education classes. Upon completion of the program, the charges can be erased and your record can remain clean.
In the event that you are not guilty but were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time, the prosecution will have to prove that you were, at some point, in possession of alcohol. It is not enough to say that you were near alcohol or around others who were drinking.
I was hired by a UMASS Amherst student’s parents to represent him on a single count of Minor In Possession Of Alcohol. The UMASS Amherst told him that this single, seemingly “small” charge was going to prevent him from being able to study abroad, if he was actually charged and arraigned.
- At the “show cause” level, I was able to convince the clerk magistrate to NOT issue a criminal complaint against the UMASS Amherst student. As a result, the student was allowed to stay in college without punishment and is now studying abroad.
A student from UMASS Lowell was visiting a student friend at UMASS Amherst this spring and was surprised by UMASS Amherst police while she had alcohol in her hand. She had not yet attained the age of 21 years. She retained me from the Lowell area.
- At the “show cause” hearing I was able to convince the magistrate to NOT issue the complaint against her, and she was able to convince him that she should not have to pay a fine because of the nature of volunteer work she does.
Posted by Brad (A UMASS Student’s AVVO review)
Contact an UnderageDrinking Defense Attorney in Amherst, MA Today
If you’ve been charged with an alcohol related crime as a minor in Amherst or Northampton, contact the Law Offices of Tom Kokonowski, Esq. today by calling (413) 585-9200 or (413) 549-0022.