Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

How Do You Defend Minor In Possession Of Alcohol Cases?


The first thing we do is enter a plea of not guilty and demand a trial by jury. That puts the prosecutor on notice that someone is seriously prepared to fight them; this isn’t going to be as easy as they think. We are not trying to make them angry, just put them on notice that we take the case seriously and that they are not negotiating with a defenseless lay person who couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag in a Florida courtroom.

A person who is represented by competent counsel right off-the-bat, is taken seriously. Setting the case for a jury trial prevents the trick of having someone go to court, plead not guilty on their own, and when they walk out with their court paper, it says, “Judge pre-trial conference”. That person lost their jury trial right. They made the State attorney’s job a lot easier without even realizing it. They simply didn’t use the right language; they didn’t get placed on the jury docket.

The types of possible defenses we look at might be, perhaps a person was supposed to have had their rights read and he was not or perhaps a search and seizure was done improperly. Also, these MIP cases are going to come so hard and so fast that errors by the law enforcement explode during spring break simply because they are working double shifts, they’re tired and quite a few of them are skipping through their reporting very quickly because they have so many cases to handle. That’s where we find a lot of defenses.

A defense can be complete or partial. A complete defense absolutely destroys the State’s case, and a partial defense damages it so badly that suddenly favorable settlement negotiations become very, very easy and negotiated dismissals become easier.

The problem is young people, especially if they receive a criminal summons that looks like a ticket, tend to blow it off. They are manipulated by the system and by the facts. They don’t know what they don’t know, and that’s where we come in. We set things right.

Potential Time Frame Of Resolution For A Minor In Possession Case

Generally, a second degree or first degree misdemeanor will take 2 to 3 months to complete. However, longstanding relationships on a professional level with members of the office of the State Attorney in Walton, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa counties have made it so that I’m able to do things a lot quicker. For example, normally before spring break every year, I will touch base with a key person and each officer in the first judicial circuit and I will find out what they’re going to be focusing on this particular year during spring break. Do they view this sudden explosion of cases as an aggravation or are they high and mighty about the hyped up dangers of a 19 year old drinking a single beer? Is there any pressure from the head boss to prosecute aggressively? How does the secretary feel about the cases?

These off the record conversations really pay big dividends down the road for my clients. I know what to say, how to say it and who to say it to. I know what things are important to the decision makers on the other side, what things are not important.

Here’s a classic example: There is a prosecutor in one county who is “job-scared” and there is another in a different county who is not. I am able to then adjust my tactics depending on what works with each prosecutor. They are all different and also have different preferences for all kinds of things. You don’t know who prefers a face to face meeting and who prefers a phone call by appointment. Fortunately, I do.

For more information on Viable Defense For MIP Charges, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 466-1522 today.

Stephen G. Cobb, Esq.

Get your questions answered - call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (850) 466-1522

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