If you are under 21 (or the parent of someone under 21) who is facing charges in Fulton County State Court or a municipal or city court in Fulton County or the City of Atlanta, you are certainly not alone. It seems especially in the summer months that Fulton County law enforcement officers are cracking down on arrests for young offenders.
If you are caught with alcohol under the age of 21 (which typically occurs when officers bust a house party), you can be caught with Minor in the Possession of Alcohol (MIP) or Underage Consumption of alcohol. Both are misdemeanor offenses in Fulton County, but can have serious consequences if taken lightly. First of all, an MIP / underage consumption offense can lead to the suspension of one's drivers license. This can be detrimental for young drivers who need to get to work and school. In addition, a conviction for either will stay on your record forever and will be visable to schools and employers doing background checks in the future. Sometimes, young people are will to just go and "accept the charges." Then they call our office years later and want to try to get the conviction for the MIP expunged or removed from their record. Unfortunately, nothing can be done once a guilty plea is entered and the conviction is there for the rest of your life. Our Fulton County MIP attorneys can help you in many instances beat these charges or enter negotiations so nothing is reflected on your record. Call our Fulton Co. law office today to speak to a a lawyer about your minor in possession / underage consumption charge.
Of course, drivers under the age of 21 can be charged with DUI in Fulton County just like their older counterparts. It is harder to beat these charges because the legal limit is lower - just a .02 for an underage driver - as compared to a .08 for a driver age 21 or over. In addition, the loss of license implications are much more severe for a young driver. For a first time DUI offense for a driver over 21, there are often limited and temporary driving permits available. These are not as readily available for an under 21 driver. In addition, having a Fulton County conviction for DUI may more deeply affect a person under the age of 21. For example, young offenders are often in the midst of applying for school and jobs. A DUI conviction may more negatively affect their chances then if they were more established in their career. Especially in a tough job market, a job candidate looks better if they don't have a DUI conviction then if they do.
If you are under the age of 18 in Fulton County, and you are charged with a minor in possession / underage consumption charge or an Under 21 DUI offense, your case will be heard in the juvenile court of Fulton County. Under Georgia law, those aged 16 and under are considered juvenile offenders and are prosecuted in the juvenile system. This is actually a lucky break because while there are still punishments, the juvenile system offers some protections in terms of privacy for juvenile offenders. Juvenile offenders face detention at a juvenile residential treatment program, probation, fines, alcohol and drug evaluations and cousenling, and community service requirements. A juvenile offender may also lose their Georgia drivers license.
Despite juvenile court protections, one's driving history can reflect their offense and sentence and he or she may be subject to a drivers license suspension regardless of their age age. That is why it is important to hire a skilled Fulton County MIP or DUI attorney to help you avoid a conviction or adjudication and protect your Georgia drivers license and history.
If you or your son or daughter is facing an underage DUI offense or a minor in possession or underage consumption offense, call our Fulton County lawyers today. Attorney Richard Lawson and his legal staff have years of experience getting their clients the best possible outcomes on Fulton County DUI and MIP cases. We help people keep their license and stay out of jail on a regular basis. We are also trained trial lawyers ready to help you contest your case. Call us today for a free consultation.