When a child is charged with a criminal act, this can be one of the scariest and most stressful
times in a parent’s life and that child’s life. Whether as a parent, you believe that your child
should learn his or her lesson or that the crime is not serious one, it is extremely important
to protect your child’s rights and his or her future. If you child is convicted of a crime or
adjudicated delinquent, this may negatively impact your child’s life for many years. Your
child may have difficulty getting into college or certain professions such as the military or law
enforcement. Institutions that award financial aid and scholarships will scrutinize your child’s
The majority of juvenile cases are heard in the juvenile court system; however, depending on
severity of the crime, it is not uncommon for a child to be charged as an adult. The juvenile
justice system in Colorado is unique and differs greatly from the adult criminal justice system.
The juvenile court system focuses on the treatment and rehabilitation of the child rather than
punishment. The majority of first time offenders are usually offered juvenile diversion, which is
an alternative form of prosecution designed to keep the child out of the court system and free of any criminal record. Juvenile diversion is designed to hold the child accountable for his or her actions, yet not punish the child with the negative impact of a criminal record. Juveniles that are charged with more serious crimes or who have been charged with crimes in the past may face detention or a probationary sentence. A child who is adjudicated delinquent and is charged with a serious criminal act may be sentence to the Department of Youth Corrections for up to two years.
UNDERAGE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL / MINOR IN POSSESSION OF ALCOHOL (MIP)
Underage Consumption of Alcohol and Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP) is one the most
common charges for a minor or an adult under the age of 21. If your child is stopped by the
police for underage drinking or for possession of alcohol, the penalties and repercussions can be quite severe
Under Colorado law, the crime of Minor in Possession or Consumption of Alcohol, (MIP)
is punishable by a fine up to $250 for a first conviction, $500 for a second conviction, and a
misdemeanor which is punishable by jail for third and subsequent convictions. Penalties also
include up to twenty-four hours of community service, an alcohol evaluation or assessment,
and an alcohol education program or alcohol treatment program, all at the minor’s expense.
In addition to any criminal penalties, the Colorado Department of Revenue may revoke the
driving privileges of any person under the age of 21 who is convicted of the crime of Minor in
Possession or Consumption of Alcohol. For a first conviction, the driver’s license revocation
will be for three months unless that person completes the required alcohol class. For a second
conviction, the revocation will be for six months, and for any third or subsequent conviction, one year. If your child is charged with the crime of Minor in Possession or Consumption of Alcohol, there are certain rights and defenses available to your child. It is an affirmative defense to the charge of Minor in Possession or Consumption of Alcohol if:
The alcohol was possessed or consumed while the minor was legally on private property with the knowledge and consent of the owner or possessor of the property and the alcohol was possessed or consumed with the consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian who was present.
The alcohol in the minor’s body was due solely to the ingestion of a confectionery that contained alcohol, or a substance that contained alcohol which was intended for a purpose other than oral human ingestion, or if the substance was deigned or intended of medicinal or hygienic purposes.
The possession or consumption took place for religious purposes protected by the first
amendment to the United States Constitution.
The possession or consumption took place by a student who is enrolled in a university or post-secondary school taking a culinary arts, food service, or restaurant management course and samples the alcohol as part of an instructional course under the supervision of the instructor.
The underage person called 911 and reported in good faith that another underage person was in need of medical assistance due to consumption of alcohol and that reporting person was the first 911 caller and provided his or name to the 911 operator.
A child who has been convicted of Minor in Possession or Consumption of Alcohol may be
eligible to have their record sealed one year after the conviction, if they have not been arrested
for, charged with or convicted of any crime during that year.
The Law Office of Kip O’Connor can aggressively safe guard the rights of your child if they
are charged with a juvenile crime or with the crime of Minor in Possession or Consumption of
Alcohol (MIP). Call us today at (970) 384-1000 for your free initial consultation.