What should I do if I was cited for an MIP and have a trial set for next month?

There is no evidence that I had alcohol in my cup I poured it out before approaching the officer and no breathalyzer or anything. However I did initially give him the wrong age, saying I was 21. What should I do?

Asked on November 15, 2012 under Criminal Law, New Mexico

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There are a couple of things that you should do.  First, if you can afford an attorney, get one.  If you cannot afford one, see if the court will give you a court appointed attorney.  Even though just an MIP, it still has consequences and you don't want to be at a disadvantage at trial.

Second, make sure that you appear for trial (with or without an attorney).   If you do not appear, it could result in additional charges and a warrant for your arrest. 

Third, once you appear, do not testify.  Based on what you have described, there may be no actual evidence agaist you--- except your own testimony.  If you take the stand and decide to testify, the prosecutor will have the right to ask you questions, including about what you did with the alcohol prior.  You could accidentally walk yourself into a conviction.  The better angle is to go with counsel and let them cross-examine the officer on the lack of actual evidence against you. 


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