Will I be charged with a MIP?

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Will I be charged with a MIP?

I went to the beach with friends, one 21 and the other 18. The 21 year old brought a 6 pack of bottled beer along in a cooler. Drinking alcohol and having anything made of glass are illegal at the beach. We thought we were hiding it, but we weren’t. The Beach Sheriffs rolled up and they asked for ID. I’m only 20, my 21st birthday is in Sept. The cop decided to ticket us just for having alcohol and glass on the beach, both marked as infractions. I have a court date at the end of July. I was wondering if I could be charged with a Minor in Possession, though it doesn’t state that on the ticket.

Asked on May 29, 2009 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It is possible that you could be charged with MIP, although I think that it is unlikely.  Police officers will arrest you (or in this instance write you an infraction ticket) for the statute that they think has been violated based upon the facts that they observe; however, police officers are not lawyers.  What this means from a practical perspective is that sometimes a prosecutor will observe a set of facts and decide, from a legal perspective, that those facts violate a different statute that the police officer (as a non-lawyer) thought.

However, although I practice in Connecticut, and therefore am not familiar with the prosecutorial process in California, due to the relatively minor nature of these charges (since they are infractions) I think that it is unlikely that a prosecutor will decide to file substitute charges in this instance.  Therefore, while it remains possible that the prosecutor will file substitute charges, chances are that the prosecutor, given an already heavy caseload, will prefer to resolve and dispose of the matter.


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