I hear it almost every time I get a call about helping someone out with a Minor in Possession of Alcohol charge – “The cop said all I had to do was pay the ticket and the case would be over.” Inevitably, upon calling the New Orleans Municipal Court, the individual who received the ticket hears the harsh reality that this advice simply isn’t accurate.
Don’t Plead Guilty to a MIP
Minor in Possession of Alcohol in the city of New Orleans is a misdemeanor offense requiring a court appearance, and carrying potentially serious consequences for a person’s long-term criminal record if convicted. (The criminal statute is linked here). Paying a fine on a minor in possession ticket “just to get it over with” is the same as being convicted. It means you will have a misdemeanor criminal conviction on your record. There are a variety of ways a criminal attorney can help you get your MIP dismissed.
You Don’t Need to Go to Court. Let an Attorney Appear in Court for You.
In MIP cases, the law in Louisiana allows an attorney to represent a client in his or her absence (in absentia). This means that out-of-town clients who have a MIP case in Louisiana may return home and leave the defense of their case in the hands of a local attorney. Not only can a lawyer help to minimize the potential criminal consequences of an MIP, he or she can appear in court for you and handle the case so you can go home.
Getting a MIP Dismissed
There are three main ways to get a MIP case dismissed, and your lawyer can explain to you which of these may apply to your case:
- Negotiate a dismissal of your charges based on a legal defense to the charge. There are several legal defenses to you that may be available based on the particular facts of your case;
- Negotiate a dismissal of your charges based on agreement to pay court costs;
- Negotiate a dismissal of your charges based on your participation in a pre-trial diversion program. This program typically involves the payment of court costs and the participation in some court supervised classes. Again, your attorney can arrange to have all of this done without you in court, and without having to return to New Orleans to complete any of the program activities.
Nothing beats talking to a lawyer about the various options for your MIP ticket, so if you have questions, be sure to talk to someone about it. You’ll be glad you took the time to do it right.