How bad will be my consequences for an MIP in California? 7 Answers as of April 08, 2011

I was given an MIP in California. I am currently a 20 year old college undergraduate. I was cooperative with the police when caught and was not drinking at the time but was holding alcohol in my hands. (2 handles one not even opened and one maybe having 1-2 shots worth gone). I was not tested for alcohol, but I am assuming that the cops knew I was nowhere near drinking (my attire, look and time in which caught was probably why, but who knows what they were thinking). I did not dump the alcohol because they took it back for further inspection. My court date is in 1 week. I was thinking of least getting a public attorney to counsel me on what to say and what to do. How bad will be my sentence be in Irvine specifically? I like to think of myself as a good kid, who yes, did break the law, but I just made the wrong decision in the wrong time. Again I did not drink any of the alcohol. What exactly should I do? How bad will be my consequences for an MIP in California? What exactly am I looking at in terms of consequences? (AA classes, etc) Is there anyway to lower the consequences that I may be getting? I understand the license suspension but what else can they do? I just want overall help since my trial is in a week and again I will call my nearest public defenders office for counsel, but i just wanted some knowledge before hand if possible. Thank you.

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Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
While this isn't a 'capital case', you risk jail and fines, so handle it right. It is already 'on' your record as an arrest charge. Your attorney's job is to try to prevent it from going 'on' as a conviction, and/or minimizing the penalties. If you dont already have the Public Defender appointed by the court, which requires qualifying for appointment, you dont get to just call them for help. You may have to hire your own attorney. If serious about doing so, feel free to contact me.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/8/2011
Law Office of Joe Dane
Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
First, the public defender cannot give you advice unless they are appointed to represent you by the judge. It seems as though you have done the research and know about the potential one year suspension of your license. That is by far the most severe consequence of this charge. Your goal should be to avoid a conviction of that charge at all costs to avoid losing your license. I know it seems like a minor offense, but if you can afford to do so, it's worth getting an attorney to see what can be done to avoid this charge. Assuming your case happened in Irvine, you'll be going to Harbor Justice Center. If you get an attorney, they can make the court appearances on your behalf and negotiate a better deal for you. I'm in Orange and practice in Harbor court regularly. Let me know if you want to discuss representation further.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/7/2011
The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman
The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman | Gabriel Dorman
First of all, the worst consequence involved with a MIP conviction is the loss of your driver's license for 1 year. In California, if you are under the age of 21 and suffer a conviction in court for an alcohol and/or drug related offense, your license will be suspended for 1 year. This suspension is automatic. As such, if you have been cited for a MIP you should do everything possible to avoid a conviction. That being said, the best way to try and avoid a conviction is to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer as this will only serve to enhance your chances of getting the best possible result. Often times in Orange County, the Court will let you attend an alcohol education class and, upon showing proof of completion of the class, will dismiss your case. When you go to court next week, see if the court offers this to you. If not, then you ask for a continuance so you can speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. I hope this answer was helpful. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/7/2011
Robert Mortland
Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
This is a misdemeanor charge in California and is not treated very strictly. Every county handles these charges different but a good attorney will be able to keep this off your record by reducing it to an infraction if you complete certain terms: AA/NA, community service, or other alternatives. However, this should not be treated lightly, there can be severe consequences from this case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/7/2011
Law Office of Jeff Yeh
Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
Since MIP is a relatively minor charge, a good attorney can likely obtain a settlement where you complete some classes in the OC area to earn a dismissal. Once dismissed, it will be like it never happened.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/7/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    It appears you will be going to the Harbor courthouse in Newport Beach for this. I routinely practice out of this court house and was a deputy district attorney there for several years. The main consequence of the MIP charge is that it carries a one year license suspension. It is possible to work with your attorney and the prosecutor to have the charge changed to avoid the license suspension. I would highly advise not pleading guilty to the charge and having either the public defender work out a deal or hire a private attorney as the license suspension should be avoided.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/7/2011
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