MINORS WITH ALCOHOL
One of the most damaging aspects of minor in possession of alcohol is specific to further education as well as employment and business creation. Many people are shocked to find out that a minor in possession charge they had 15 years ago will prevent their licensure in a regulated business, whether it’s insurance adjusting, real estate, law or even a general contractor’s license in some states. Certainly, healthcare workers are affected. The big problem with minor in possession of alcohol is that when employers or prospective employers find out about it, they don’t see underage drinking in their mind.
How Alcohol Charges Affect Hiring
What they see is a human resources nightmare from the business perspective because they will have knowingly hired somebody with a criminal history and a substance abuse problem; that’s exactly how they’re going to look at it and not look at it as underage drinking, a kids having fun kind of a thing or a youthful indiscretion. They are going to look at it as a human relations nightmare because they will have hired somebody with a known drug and alcohol history.
This isn’t true; the people I tend to represent are actually high performers and doing very well in their studies. When their cases are not handled correctly and they apply for a particular type of job or license to practice a particular profession, and I’ve had cases where people have gone through four years of undergraduate university study followed by years of graduates or professional school education, they find out they can’t get their license to practice their profession because they have drug and alcohol criminal history. The best thing you can do if you or someone you love is accused of minor in possession of alcohol in 2019 is to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer and put your mind at ease. You won’t have to worry for years and years and years if it’s going to come back and bite you if it’s been handled correctly the first time.
Is a Minor in Possession of Alcohol Charge a Criminal Charge or Just a Fine?
The question of whether a minor in possession alcohol charge is a criminal charge or you will just get a fine completely misstates the law. Misstating of the law is not the fault of the person asking; it is the fault of the government that has deliberately misled people. For example, in counties where they have a straight-to-jail policy for minor in possession and when they simply run out of jail space or human power to arrest everybody then they start handing out citations. Many of these criminal summons will look like a ticket but the back of it will have what is essentially a plea agreement in the form of a waiver of the right. It also soft paddles the potential down-the-road damage that can occur. It’s not a ticket. A ticket is a civil infraction payable by a fine amount. It is a criminal case, meaning it is a criminal charge and it shows up on reports for criminal history unless it is expunged.
We’ve added another aspect to these types of cases to protect our clients, which is called Digital Eraser. If someone wants more information on this then they can let me know about it. In situations where people get that citation that looks like a civil infraction ticket and they sign the back and send them the money, what happens is they have just eliminated the possibility of an expunction for a minimum of 10 years. They have to worry each year during a period of record sealing for an entire decade that the legislature could repeal the expunction statute and then boom! Suddenly, the criminal history that they’ve said they didn’t have on job applications comes blowing up in their face.
Employers, professional schools and licensing boards find out about it and conclude the person has lied and then that person pays an extra consequence because they did not take care of it correctly when it first arose. The best thing that you or someone you love can do if given a notice to appear for minor in possession or a citation or if someone has suffered an actual physical arrest with jail being involved is to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately so that the damage can be controlled, contained, mitigated and eliminated.
How Much is the Minor in Possession of Alcohol Ticket Generally Worth in Florida?
First of all, a minor in possession of alcohol charge is not a ticket. The reason people think it’s a ticket is because some counties do not have a straight-to-jail policy and they issue a criminal summons, which is also known as the notice to appear in court. Many people not wanting to tell their parents because they don’t want to disappoint them will flip the citation criminal summons over and there will be a waiver of rights form on the back. They will pay a dollar amount and what they do not realize is they will have a criminal history the moment that is filed in the clerk system. It will immediately pop-up and become visible to everyone. In an age of social media, having anything negative involving crimes of substance abuse, which is how people look at it, can be very negative and have lifelong consequences.
Minor in possession charges must be handled correctly, which means a dismissal of the charge without a full-blown burdensome diversion program. Secondly, it’s important to have a record expunction so there is no future wage loss as a result of this charge. Thirdly, most people need digital erasure to get rid of negative Internet information so that it doesn’t cause problems socially and with employment.
Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is a slightly edited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.