A MIP (minor in possession of alcohol) conviction in Butte County will result in a one-year driver’s license suspension. Because there is no diversion option in Butte County, and the law requires a driver’s license suspension, a MIP conviction will result in this one-year driver’s license suspension. The law, however, also allows a person with such a conviction to petition the court for a restricted driver’s license.
Although the controlling statute provides for immediate eligibility for a restricted driver’s license to those convicted of a MIP, Butte County’s policy is to require a 30-day no driving period following conviction, and then allows for a restricted driver’s license. (See below image for process)
The restricted driver’s license will allow the person to drive between home(s), school, to transport an ill family member, work, and within the scope of employment. Clients are often shocked to hear that it does not allow them to drive to the grocery store, doctor visits, the pharmacy, or to drive around family members (except in certain circumstances). The law is very specific in what purposes it permits a judge or commissioner to grant the restricted license for. Your special need to feed yourself by driving to the grocery store and shopping is not something a court will consider. Don’t be fooled, the purpose of the driver’s license suspension is punishment.
The person convicted will also likely be required to surrender his or her driver’s license to the court either the day of court or shortly thereafter. If your plan is to plead guilty or no contest in court, you may want to plan ahead and get a state issued identification card in case you plan on flying, taking a train, taking a long bus ride, or entering certain places that require ID right after the conviction. You will not have any physical state issued ID while awaiting the restricted license from the DMV.
Whether the conviction will negatively impact your car insurance prices is a frequently asked question. Unfortunately, there is no yes or no answer to this question. On the one hand, the MIP conviction is not a moving violation and has absolutely nothing to do with the person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. It’s just a crime classified by the State of California as having a driver’s license suspension a component of its punishment. However, a driver’s license suspension of any kind can raise premiums. It is the suspension by itself that triggers increased prices, not necessarily the underlying cause of the suspension. With the exception of failure to pay child support, most companies will raise insurance costs for any license suspension.. If there is an increase caused by a MIP conviction, some insurance companies report that it would be minor compared to actual moving violation increases. Different car insurance companies treat suspensions based on non-moving violations differently. Calling your particular insurance company for details is probably the best thing you can do for information regarding whether an MIP-based suspension will affect your rates.
For more information regarding MIP convictions and restricted driver’s licenses, contact the Law Offices of Matthew S. Luzaich. We provide a free legal consultation regarding your minor in possession case and can provide you with guidance through the process, representation in court, and in applying for a restricted driver’s license.