To get your Minor in Possession of Alcohol ticket dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense, you will need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight your MIP charge in court.
An Attorney Can Fight Your MIP Ticket
An experienced attorney can convince the Prosecutor to amend your Minor in Possession of Alcohol ticket to “Littering” and only require you to pay a fine and court costs, or possibly dismiss your MIP ticket after you complete an alcohol education class and/or do a few hours of community service and pay court costs.
The outcome of your MIP case depends on:
- Which court your case is being prosecuted in
- Your age
- Your criminal history
- Whether you were charged under the “Abuse & Lose” law
- The skill and experience of the attorney who is representing you
- The specific details of your case
When Can Police Issue a Ticket for Minor in Possession of Alcohol?
The blood alcohol limit is .02 in Missouri for underage drinking, but a police officer can issue an MIP ticket without administering a breathalyzer test if you are under age 21 and:
- The police officer believes you are visibly intoxicated
- The police officer sees that you possess intoxicating liquor
- There is evidence that you purchased or attempted to purchase intoxicating liquor
Common situations in which a police officer will issue a ticket for Minor in Possession of Alcohol:
- Liquor Store – You are underage and try to buy wine or liquor
- Traffic Stop – Police pull you over for a traffic violation and see a beer can or liquor bottle in your vehicle
- Concert – Undercover police officer sees you drinking alcohol in the parking lot before attending a concert
- Mardi Gras/St. Patrick’s Day Parade/4th of July Celebration – Police officer sees you drinking alcohol at a public outdoor event
- House Party – You are at a house party and the police show up and issue MIP tickets to everyone at the party who seems intoxicated
PLEASE NOTE: Other charges involving underage drinking, such as “Providing Alcohol to a Minor” and “Using a Fake I.D.” are sometimes considered more serious than Minor in Possession of Alcohol tickets by prosecutors and judges.
Don’t Plead Guilty To Minor in Possession of Alcohol
Many people incorrectly believe that an MIP charge will automatically “drop off” of their criminal record after the defendant reaches age 21. This is not true. Pleading guilty will cause you to have a conviction for Minor in Possession of Alcohol on your permanent criminal record forever, until you hire an attorney to petition the court to have it expunged.
Having an alcohol-related conviction on your criminal record can prevent you from getting a job and may negatively affect your chances of being accepted into the college of your choice.
A First-Time MIP Conviction Can Be Expunged After You Plead Guilty
If you already pleaded guilty to Minor in Possession of Alcohol, you can hire an attorney to expunge the MIP conviction from your criminal record. Here is some important information if you are considering hiring an attorney to expunge your MIP conviction:
- Defendants are allowed only 1 expungement pursuant to RSMO 311.326
- Your attorney must file a petition to expunge your MIP conviction in the court where you were sentenced
- There will be a hearing in front of a judge
- If the judge agrees to the expungement, the records of your MIP arrest, plea, trial, and conviction will all be expunged
- The petition to expunge your MIP conviction can’t be filed until after a period of not less than 1 year after you reach age 21
Expunging the conviction after you have pleaded guilty to MIP is more expensive than hiring a lawyer to get the MIP charge dismissed or reduced when you were first charged. Also, there is no guarantee that the judge will agree to expunge your MIP conviction.
Jail Time Is Possible For Repeat MIP Offenders
For first-time offenders charged with Minor in Possession of Alcohol or Underage Drinking in Missouri, the maximum fine is $300 with no possibility of jail time.
If you get charged with MIP a second time, it’s considered a class A misdemeanor and the maximum punishment is 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
A Minor in Possession of Alcohol Ticket Can Cause You To Lose Your Driver’s License
If you are charged with MIP under Missouri’s “Abuse & Lose” law, your driver’s license can be suspended for 90 days if it’s your first offense. The suspension of your license is in addition to the fine and possible jail time (if you have prior convictions on your criminal record). You can call the court clerk or ask your attorney to determine if you have been charged under the “Abuse & Lose” law.
Contact the Missouri Department of Revenue at (573) 751-4475 or go to their website if you have questions about how to get reinstated after your license was suspended due to an MIP conviction.
How Long Does an MIP Conviction Stay On Your Record?
An MIP conviction stays on your criminal record forever, unless you hire an attorney to expunge it.
In addition, an MIP conviction remains on your driving record for 5 years after your license reinstatement date, and then you must send a written request to the Missouri Department of Revenue asking them to remove it from your driving record.
Call St. Louis criminal defense attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 for a free consultation about your case and get a flat-fee price quote for how much she will charge to represent you. Or email Andrea at email@example.com
Hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to avoid having a shoplifting conviction on your criminal record.
Don’t Plead Guilty to Shoplifting
If you go to court on your own without an attorney and plead guilty to shoplifting, you will end up with a conviction for stealing that will show up on your permanent criminal record.
Having a stealing conviction on your criminal record will prevent you from getting a job, renting an apartment, obtaining a bank loan, or getting federal student aid for college.
Why You Should Hire An Attorney To Help With Your Stealing Charge
An experienced attorney who has represented a lot of Missouri defendants charged with stealing can give you the best estimate of the most likely outcome of your case.
In some cases, it may be in your best interest to plead not guilty and take your case to trial, while in other situations, your best option may be to have your attorney negotiate a plea bargain deal with the Prosecutor.
Discuss your case with an experienced attorney before deciding what to do. Most criminal defense attorneys will offer a free consultation and give you an estimate of the outcome of your case, along with a flat-fee price quote for how much they will charge to represent you.
Here are some possible outcomes for defendants who are represented by an experienced shoplifting attorney for their Missouri misdemeanor shoplifting charge:
- The charge is dismissed after defendant completes the “Theft Offender” class and pays court costs, or
- The charge is dismissed after defendant completes a few hours of community service and pays court costs, or
- The charge is reduced to a lesser offense, such as “Littering,” after defendant pays a fine and court costs, or
- The charge is dismissed after defendant completes a period of probation and pays court costs but is not required to pay a fine
What Is The Punishment for Shoplifting or Stealing Under $500 in Missouri?
The maximum sentence for shoplifting in Missouri is 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Misdemeanor shoplifting is sometimes charged as “Stealing Under $500,” “Petty Larceny,” or “Petty Theft.”
The Prosecutor may charge you with “Misdemeanor Stealing” for stealing items valued under $500.
The Prosecutor may charge you with “Felony Stealing” for stealing items valued at $500 or more.
PLEASE NOTE: If you have are charged with misdemeanor stealing for the 4th time within 10 years, the Prosecuting Attorney must charge you with Felony Stealing, which is a much more serious charge than misdemeanor stealing.
Jail Time Is a Possibility for Misdemeanor Shoplifting in Missouri
As noted above, the maximum penalty in Missouri for misdemeanor shoplifting is 1 year in jail. However, a 1-year jail sentence for shoplifting is not likely unless you have multiple prior stealing convictions and you don’t have an experienced attorney representing you.
WARNING: In some Missouri courts, the Prosecutor will not dismiss or reduce shoplifting charges to a lesser offense, even if the defendant has no prior convictions and is represented by an attorney. If your case is in a court in which the Prosecutor does not dismiss or amend shoplifting charges, your attorney will have to negotiate directly with the judge for a reduction in jail time.
No Jail Time for Stealing Under $150
A new law took effect in Missouri on January 1, 2017 stating that the maximum penalty for first-time offenders accused of misdemeanor “Stealing Under $150” is a $500 fine but no jail time.
See my previous blog post “No Jail Time For Stealing Under $150” for more information about this new Missouri shoplifting law.
Should You Pay the “Civil Demand” If You Are Caught Shoplifting?
After being arrested for shoplifting, the store where you were caught stealing will send you a “Civil Demand” letter, stating that you owe the store $250 to reimburse them for their expenses.
Most experienced attorneys advise their clients to refuse to pay the civil demand. Whether or not you pay the civil demand will have no effect on your criminal shoplifting case.
You don’t owe the store anything unless the store sues you and wins a judgment against you in civil court. Most stores don’t sue shoplifters who steal items valued under $500 because a lawsuit costs the store more than the judgment is worth, and because it is time-consuming for the store to collect on a judgment.
See my previous blog post “What To Do If You Are Charged With Shoplifting” for more information about “Civil Demand” letters.
Call St. Louis shoplifting attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or email Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation about your case. Andrea can give you an estimate of the outcome of your case and a flat-fee price quote for legal representation.
“Leaving the Scene of an Accident” is not the kind of ticket you want on your driving record. An experienced traffic law attorney can get this type of ticket reduced from a 6- or 12-point ticket to a no-point, non-moving violation, such as “Illegal Parking.”
The outcome of your case depends on your driving record, the police report, and your attorney’s skill in negotiating a favorable plea bargain deal with the prosecuting attorney.
What Is the Penalty For “Leaving the Scene of an Accident” in Missouri?
The maximum punishment for a class A misdemeanor “Leaving the Scene of an Accident” (sometimes called “Hit & Run”) charge is 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
“Leaving the Scene of an Accident” can be considered a class D felony, punishable by up to 4 years in prison and a $5,000 fine, if the following occurred:
- Physical injury to another party, or
- Property damage in excess of $1,000, or
- The defendant previously pleaded guilty or was convicted of this same offense
The applicable Missouri statute for “Leaving the Scene of an Accident” is RSMo 577.060.
How Many Points Are Added To Your Driving Record For “Leaving the Scene of an Accident”?
The number of points added to your driving record for a “Hit & Run” or “Leaving the Scene of an Accident” conviction in Missouri depends on who issued the ticket:
- 12 points if a Missouri State Highway Patrol officer issued the ticket
- 6 points if a municipal or county police officer issued the ticket
Your driver’s license will be revoked for 1 year if you accumulate 12 points within 12 months.
If your attorney gets your ticket reduced to a non-moving, no-point violation, that means no points will be added and your driving record won’t be affected.
How Long Does a Conviction For “Leaving the Scene of an Accident” Stay On Your Driving Record?
A conviction for “Leaving the Scene of an Accident” stays on your driving record forever if the ticket was issued by a Missouri State Highway Patrol officer.
Missouri Can Suspend Your License If You Are Convicted of “Leaving the Scene of an Accident”
The State of Missouri can suspend the licenses of both the driver and the owner of the vehicle if you leave the scene of an accident and your vehicle was not insured at the time of the accident.
In addition, the State of Missouri can suspend your driver’s license if you leave the scene of an accident that you caused and you (or your insurance company) fails to pay for the damage to the other vehicle.
A Conviction For “Leaving the Scene of an Accident” May Affect Your Ability to Get a Hardship License
Your ability to get a hardship license (limited driving privilege) depends on who issued the ticket.
If you plead guilty or are convicted of a “Leaving the Scene of an Accident” ticket that was issued by a municipal or county police officer, you will be eligible for a hardship license.
If you plead guilty or are convicted of a “Leaving the Scene of an Accident” ticket that was issued by a Missouri State Highway Patrol officer, you will not be eligible for a hardship license.
Call St. Louis traffic law attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 for a free consultation and a price quote for your “Leaving the Scene of an Accident” or “Hit & Run” ticket. Or email Andrea at email@example.com
A Missouri criminal background check can reveal both open and closed criminal records, but the detail of the information disclosed depends on who is requesting the information.
You Need to Know What’s On Your Criminal Background Report
It’s a good idea to obtain a copy of your criminal background report, just so you know exactly what will be revealed to potential employers, colleges, landlords, banks, etc.
It’s very common for someone to have been charged with a crime in the past (shoplifting, marijuana possession, under-age drinking) and think the charge has been dropped or “sealed” but later discover that an arrest or conviction is showing up on their criminal background report.
If you know exactly what is on your criminal background report, you will be prepared to explain to potential employers about a previous criminal charge or arrest. It’s better to explain in advance about being arrested or charged with a crime, rather than look like a liar because you incorrectly claimed to have a clean criminal record.
The Difference Between Open and Closed Criminal Records
A Basic Name Search criminal background report shows open records only.
A Fingerprint Search criminal background report shows both open and closed records.
When you have been charged with a crime but the case is not resolved yet, your case is an open pending case, which is an open record.
Closed records show what happened in the past. So, if you were arrested but the Prosecutor dismissed the charge, you pleaded guilty, or the Prosecutor reduced the charge to a lesser offense, the case is closed and that is a closed record.
EXAMPLE: If you were not arrested but you were charged with shoplifting and you hired an attorney who got the charge dismissed, a Basic Name Search will show nothing. A Fingerprint Search will reveal that you were charged with shoplifting and the case was dismissed, but only if the requesting entity is the type of employer that is entitled to see both open and closed records.
When Do Arrests and Convictions Show Up On a Criminal Background Report?
If an entity that is entitled to see both open and closed records requests just a Basic Name Search criminal background report, that report will show both open and closed records, so arrests and convictions will both show up.
EXAMPLE If you were arrested for marijuana possession and your attorney negotiates a plea bargain deal with the Prosecuting Attorney to reduce the charge to “Littering,” that’s an open record and a Basic Name Search will reveal that the Prosecutor 1) filed charges against you for marijuana possession, and 2) you were convicted of “Littering.” The arrest will not show up but the Prosecutor’s action of filing the charge of marijuana possession will show up.
EXAMPLE: If you were arrested for shoplifting and your attorney convinces the Prosecuting Attorney to dismiss your case, that’s a closed record, so nothing will show up on a Basic Name Search criminal background report. In this situation, if you request a Fingerprint Search criminal background report, both open and closed records will show up, and the report will reveal that you were arrested for shoplifting and your case was dismissed, but only if the requesting entity is entitled to see both open and closed records.
Recent Arrests Will Show Up On a Basic Criminal Background Check
If you were arrested up to 30 days ago, the arrest is considered “fresh” and will show up on a Basic Name Search background check, even if the potential employer is not entitled to see both open and closed records.
Probation Will Show Up On a Basic Criminal Background Report
If you received a Suspended Imposition of Sentence (SIS) with probation, it’s an open pending case while you are on probation and is considered an open record. It will become a closed record after you successfully complete probation and your case is closed.
The fact that you are on probation will show up even on a Basic Name Search criminal background report because it’s an open record.
If you apply for a job with an “entitled entity” employer like a daycare, the employer can require you to get a Fingerprint Search criminal background check, which will show the following:
- Were you on probation in the past?
- What were you on probation for?
- Did you successfully complete probation?
- Is the case closed?
You Don’t Have to Agree To Disclose All Records, Even If a Potential Employer Requests It
Some employers ask potential employees to get fingerprinted and request a Fingerprint Search criminal background report, even though the employer is not an entity that is entitled to see both open and closed records.
In that situation, the potential employee can choose what they want the potential employer to see — open records only, or both open and closed records. So, the person applying for a job who is required to get fingerprinted can request that only open records be disclosed on the background report, if the employer is not an entitled entity.
Some Employers Can Require Job Applicants to Disclose Both Open and Closed Criminal Records
If you are applying for a job with an “entitled entity” employer (criminal justice agency, state government, day care, etc.) and you are required to get fingerprinted and request a Fingerprint Search criminal background report, you must agree to disclose both open and closed records.
What Is An “Entitled Entity” Employer?
“Entitled Entity” employers are those that are legally entitled to require job applicants to get fingerprinted and disclose both open and closed records prior to being considered for a job.
Examples of Entitled Entities: day care, nursing home, criminal justice agency, State of Missouri.
How to Get a Copy of Your Criminal Record Check
To order a Missouri criminal record check, go online to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) website or call CJIS at (573) 526-6153.
Or you can go to the state police headquarters in the county in which you live and request a Fingerprint Search criminal background report. The Fingerprint Search criminal background report is more thorough than the criminal background report that you purchase online from CJIS.
If you have questions about what is showing up on your Missouri criminal background report, or how to obtain a criminal background report, call the Missouri State Highway Patrol Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) at (573) 526-6153.
To get help for your criminal case, call St. Louis criminal defense attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 for a free consultation and a price quote for legal representation. Or email Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org
When you receive a summons from a criminal court, it means you have been charged with a criminal offense and you must appear in court on your court date to respond to the charge.
What Happens If You Don’t Respond To A Summons?
After receiving a summons to appear in criminal court, you must go to court on your court date, or else the court will issue a warrant for your arrest.
What If You Did Not Receive The Summons From The Court?
Sometimes the court mails a summons to a defendant but the defendant does not receive it because the court has an incorrect mailing address on file for the defendant, or otherwise sent it to the wrong address.
The court is required to mail the summons to the defendant to notify them of the court date, but the court has no responsibility to make sure the defendant actually received the summons.
So, if the court sends a summons to you at the wrong address and you don’t receive the summons, the court can issue a warrant for your arrest.
What To Do If You Missed Your Court Date
If you have a warrant because you did not receive the summons from the court and missed your court date, your attorney can lift the warrant for you. Your attorney will make sure the warrant is cancelled and a new court date is scheduled.
Hiring an attorney to lift your warrant allows you to avoid turning yourself in to police, paying the bond, and appearing in court.
How To Respond To A Summons
If you have received a summons to appear in criminal court in Missouri, you can do one of the following:
- Go to court on your court date and plead guilty
- Go to court on your court date and plead not guilty
- Go to court on your court date and ask the judge for a continuance to give you more time to hire an attorney to represent you
- Hire an attorney to represent you in court so you don’t have to appear in court
If you plead guilty to a criminal offense, you will be ordered to pay fines and court costs, and you will end up with a conviction on your criminal record.
If you plead guilty to speeding tickets or other moving violations, you will have to pay fines and court costs, points will be added to your driving record, and your car insurance rates will probably increase.
The added points may cause your driver’s license to be suspended or revoked if you accumulate:
- 8 points within 18 months
- 12 points within 12 months
- 18 points within 24 months
- 24 points within 36 months
If you plead not guilty, the judge will schedule your case for trial and you will have to decide whether to represent yourself or hire an attorney to represent you at trial.
An Attorney Can Help If You Received a Summons To Appear In Court
You can hire an attorney to respond to your summons and represent you in court for your criminal case.
Your attorney can represent you at trial or negotiate a pre-trial plea bargain deal with the court on your behalf, and you may not have to appear in court at all.
An experienced attorney can get your criminal charge dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense. The outcome of your case depends on the following:
- How old are you?
- How serious was the criminal charge?
- Which court is your case being prosecuted in?
- Do you have any prior convictions on your criminal record?
If you have received a summons to appear in a Missouri court for a speeding ticket or other criminal charge, call criminal defense attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 for a free consultation and a price quote for legal representation. Or email Andrea at email@example.com