What are the chances of either fighting and winning the case or getting a lesser punishment regarding an MIP?

I was at campsite with some of my cousins and some were drinking. The ones who were drinking we’re over the age of 21. I was sitting in between two of my cousins who were over the age of 21 and their beer bottles where near my legs. Some park rangers came by and asked if we are all 21. Out of pure fright I said I was. They were making threats of putting us in jail for the night. However soon after I came clean I told them my age (19). They gave me a ticket for MIP and for lying to an offficer. None of the alcohol was mine and they just assumed I was drinking it because it was near me. I want to know what I can do to avoid a conviction for this. I haven’t been in any serious trouble with the law before (aside from a curfew ticket once). I really want the least amount of punishment for such an inconvient turn of events. 

Asked on June 12, 2012 under Criminal Law, California


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Well, by lying to an officer, you obstructed justice and didn't do yourself any favors. However, the good news is that you were not underage drinking and so you may have an easier go at getting rid of the minor in possession charge. If the rangers did not test you for alcohol consumption and your cousins are willing to testify that they were the ones in possession and you were not drinking, you might be able to have the charged dropped since you haven't been in criminal trouble before. You should speak to a criminal defense attorney about it and not attempt to handle it on your own.

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