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What to do if your child is charged with “Minor in possession” in Louisiana

Parents, this one’s for you. 

Perhaps your child moved down to New Orleans for school, or maybe they drove over with their friends for Mardi Gras. Whatever the case may be, a minor in possession charge (MIP) is no joking matter. 

Read below to find out how to hire an experienced attorney to help your child through this charge.

New Orleans drinking laws

Generally, the laws regarding alcohol in New Orleans are just like in the rest of the U.S. There are two differences that may confuse some visitors:

  • No open-container laws. Unlike in most of the country, within the city limits of New Orleans, people of legal drinking age can carry and consume open containers of alcohol in public places.
  • Parents, guardians, or spouses older than 21 can buy for minors. For example, if a family goes out for dinner, a parent can order a glass of wine for their son or daughter, even if the child isn’t of legal drinking age.

What is a Minor in Possession citation?

The legal drinking age in New Orleans, both for drinking and purchasing alcohol, is still 21. So what happens if a young person is caught with alcohol before their 21st birthday?

They will be charged as a Minor in Possession (MIP). As of a change in the law in August 2016, first-time offenders will not face the threat of jail time. But these are the penalties a young person can still face:

  • A fine of up to $100
  • A mandatory court appearance

There are some circumstances where a minor is in possession of or consuming alcohol that do not qualify for a MIP citation. These include:

  • When the minor is accompanied by a parent, guardian, or spouse over the age of 21 (as stated above);
  • When the minor is drinking for an established religious event or purpose; or
  • When the minor is handling, dispensing, selling, or transporting alcohol as a lawful employee of a retailer, wholesaler, or manufacturer.

Other than these circumstances, however, if your child is found holding or consuming alcohol before the age of 21, a MIP citation is almost surely coming their way.

Hire an experienced attorney

If your child has been cited with a MIP, you should contact an experienced Louisiana attorney as soon as possible to avoid the necessary fines and fees.

Without an attorney, your son or daughter must show up to their mandatory court date to avoid any further consequences, such as contempt of court or a warrant being issued for their arrest.. 

Hiring a reliable New Orleans criminal defense lawyer will help ensure that your child’s rights are not being violated. Your lawyer will also work hard to have your child’s fines reduced or even removed.

Contact us at Crescent City Law today

At Crescent City Law, we work with local New Orleanians as well as tourists from across the country with an array of criminal charges and citations – including MIP. Trusted by the New Orleans community, the legal team at CCL works diligently to keep your record clean. If you or your child has had an issue with a MIP, contact us today for a free consultation.

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