Minor in Possession Penalties

In Arizona, the phrase “minor in possession” typically refers to the criminal charge of minor in possession of alcohol under Arizona Revised Statutes 2-244(41). This charge is a misdemeanor, meaning that if you are convicted, you will have a criminal conviction on your record. There is no expungement of criminal convictions in Arizona, which means the conviction will stay on your record forever.

The charge itself simply requires that an individual is under 21 and has consumed alcohol. Typically, law enforcement asks the suspect to blow into a handheld breathalyzer machine that will detect the presence of alcohol on the suspect’s breath. At a trial, all the prosecutor needs to show is that the defendant is under 21 and that there was alcohol in the defendant’s system at or near the time of arrest.

While the typical sentence for this conviction is not harsh (usually a fine and alcohol classes), a conviction will remain on your record forever. For this reason, it is important to take the charge seriously to try to avoid a criminal conviction.

Most first time offenders will be offered diversion, which is a program that results in the dismissal of the charges. The diversion programs are different from court to court. Typically, diversion allows you to take a class and pay a fine to have the charges dismissed. However, if you enter the diversion program and fail to complete it within the prescribed time frame, you may then be found guilty of the charge.

If you are a University of Arizona Student and you were cited for minor in possession while on campus, you may face disciplinary action from the Dean of Students Office for violating the student code of conduct. The Dean of Students Office has their own diversion program, separate from that offered in court. If you enter the Dean of Students diversion program, you may be eligible for a special diversion program through the Pima County Adult Diversion program for your criminal charge. This diversion program accepts some of the work you have to do for the University so that you do not have to duplicate your efforts for the two diversion programs.

While entering the diversion program is not difficult, many parents and students prefer to hire a lawyer to ensure the process goes smoothly. If you have been charged with  minor in possession or similar charges, call us today to schedule a free consultation. We offer discounted rates for University of Arizona students and individuals who may be eligible for diversion.