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Handling a Walton County Minor In Possession (MIP) Charge The Hard Way

Why would anyone get arrested and then handle their criminal case the hardest way possible, dong the things most likely to cause increased suffering? They wouldn’t.

Unless they did not know any better.

The MIP Do It Yourselfers

Mistake #1: Ignorance of basic and local criminal procedure

After release, the Notice to Appear for Plea Day requires the defendant to return to DeFuniak Springs in north Walton County. Do it yourselfers hit the Internet, read as many blogs and articles and statutes as they possibly can as they prepare for their upcoming trial. They budget time and expense money for travel and head to DeFuniak Springs depending on travel time. Court is usually at 8-8:30 a.m. Central Time.

The travel time, early start and the hours spent waiting means most tourists budget two or more days. Several hours will pass as Judge David Green calls the docket and handles each case, one by one. The break is usually from noon to 1:30 p.m., but varies due to everything from the time of year to whatever else is going on within the county court system.

This is entirely avoidable.

Worse, the time and money spent is wasted because the purpose of Plea Day is arraignment – formal charging and the formal entry of a plea. There is no trial. If a not guilty plea is not orally entered correctly, a jury is waived. Virtually every pro se Minor in Possession of Alcohol do it yourselfer loses their jury trial right and weakens their case at this juncture.

Results from Mistake:

Mistake #2: Ignorance of risk

Many victims of over aggressive MIP enforcement by the Walton County Sheriff’s Office are so upset over how they were treated that they forget that possession of alcohol is a criminal offense that a judge will put you into jail for committing. Saying or doing the wrong thing in front of Judge Green while presenting your case can result in a painful reminder that judges can and will send people to jail. It may not be for the maximum, but most students I’ve met after a ten day lockdown have lost a semester or quarter at their university, face readmission problems, scholarship issues, student disciplinary investigations, substance abuse evaluations and mandatory treatment if readmitted, and if they had a job, it’s in the past tense.

Believe it or not, some parents actually increase the risk of courthouse surprise. Are your parents helicopter parents? The answer to that question will determine if they are an added risk factor in and out of the courtroom when self-representing in a MIP case.

Results from Mistake:

Mistake #3: The “bargain” that’s too good to be true

This comes in so many different variants from county to county, that I could do a day long seminar on the subject and not even come close to all of the different ways young adults have been victimized by the system. The results section at the bottom is not needed: you get played and suffer in some way.

The police are not only allowed to lie to you, they are trained to lie to suspects and witnesses. This surprises some, while others expect it. Sometimes the comforting words they tell your parents if you have to make “that call” is sincere and accurate. Sometimes it is insincere and inaccurate or sincere and inaccurate: without actual criminal defense training and courtroom experience, you don’t know which it is.

Whatever the scenario, their “bargain” is framed by training to minimize the risks, consequences, defenses to the charge while obtaining and maintaining your submission to authority:

If you or someone you love is charged with Minor in Possession of Alcohol in Walton County, solve the legal problem the smart way with a specialist in criminal law

Any lawyer admitted to the Bar can practice criminal law. Florida criminal law is the only law I practice, I’m certified as a specialist in criminal law, and I remember when Judge Green was simply David or Mr. Green.

Call (850) 466-1522 today and schedule your consultation with a certified criminal defense attorney who has handled Walton County MIP cases in DeFuniak Springs court since before the turn of the century. This may be your first offense, but it certainly isn’t my first MIP case.

Cobb Law Firm
5 Clifford Dr
Shalimar, FL 32579
(850) 466-1522