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Minor in Possession (Wrong forum subsection?)

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state?What is the name of your state?What is the name of your state? North Dakota.

*sigh* Well, I just typed this entire story up and it said I wasn't logged in so I lost everything I had spent like 15 minutes typing up, but here it goes again! Oh, and hopefully I posted in the right forum...this one seemed the most fitting.

Abridged Version, at the advice of Son of Slam

I was leaving the party the same time as some friends. They had all been drinking and were going to drive themselves. I offered to drive them. I took my friend's car, we got pulled over for a minor stoplight violation. The cop saw my friend's alcohol in the back of his car. As the driver, he said I was responsible for it. I got charged with a minor in possession. Have court on the 21st -- anything I can do? (as far as pleading for myself goes) If you need more details...look in the novel version. =x

Super Long but highly-detailed-so-you-get-the-whole-picture story

Hi, my name is Kyle. I'm a 19-year-old college student who attends the University of North Dakota. This weekend I had an unfortunate run-in with the law, and I feel that I was unjustly punished. Hopefully you guys can help me out...

This weekend I was at a party. Grand Forks, ND (the city I'm in) is one of the biggest drinking towns in America. A report by USA Today in 2004 determined that we were the #2 binge drinking city in America, as a matter of fact. Needless to say, this party had drinking going on. I chose not to, though.

I left the party at about 2:00 AM. I had to work the next day, and I wanted to salvage the little time I had left, to get some sleep. The same time I was leaving, three of my friends were heading out, too. All three of them had been drinking. I know this, because I had seen them doing so, and had been offered (but declined) drinks myself. Anyway, as a friend, the last thing I wanted to see was them driving drunk, The original driver, who's name is Joe, asked me if I wanted to come with. He was dropping the other two off, and then was going to head back to the party.. "I'll come," I said, "if you let me drive." He dangled his keys up in the air, indicating that the answer was yes.

The drove the two home, and we headed back to the party. I drove like I always do. A little over the speed limit, a little impatient. I was headed South on one of the busiest roads in town, a street called "Washington." A cop passed us, heading North. He immediately made a U-turn, flipped on his lights, and headed the same direction as us. After he followed us (and didn't pass, as I was anticipating), I pulled into a parking lot.

The officer came to my door. I fumbled with getting the window down a little bit. After all, this was the first time I had driven this vehicle. He asked how I was doing, and asked to see my license and registration. I cooperated. He also asked to see my Joe's ID, which I found kind of suspicious. He asked, "what's this liquid on the side of the car?" I looked out my window and noticed a streak of some substance on the side of the car. I, as surprised as he was, shrugged. He looked through the window into the backseat. "Is that alcohol back there?," he asked. "It could be...but I honestly don't know," I admittedly stated. This wasn't my car. I didn't know what was in there...but knowing Joe, I didn't rule out that being back there. Within a few minutes, I discovered that it was a half-empty bottle of Ron Diaz Spiced Rum behind the passenger's seat. He asked me to step out of the car and patted me down. I then had a seat (in the front) of his police car.

He informed me that I, as the driver of the vehicle, was responsible for anything in it. I asked if anyone in the vehicle could claim in the alcohol...he said "no." I was given a fine for a traffic violation of $20. According to him, I "blew through" a stop sign. (Later I re-drove the road, and discovered that the only stop sign I had come acrossed in the area he described was one connecting to Washington...I've determined that, at most, I did a rolling stop. I'm just frustrated he used the terms he did.) I also received a court date of the 21st of September. The reason? To get my ruling on the "Minor in Poessesion" charge. The cop later talked with Joe and found out he was drinking. He received a Minor in Consumption.

I'm really frustrated. I try to help out some friends like any good friend would do. Did I break a traffic law when doing that rolling stop? Yeah, I did, and this wouldn't have happened had I not did that. However, what I didn't realize was that cops decide to become hyper-sensitive on Saturday nights. They'd pull you over for for going 31 in a 30. (Contrary to the very lenient attitude during the day.) Aside from that, though, I now have a minor. I've had friends who'd been given them before. Something like a $75 fine and one year of unsupervised probation. (If you get another minor during that year, you go to jail.) That's what I'm expecting right now..

I did a little investigation into North Dakota's laws. This is a passage from "39-08-18. Open container law - Penalty:"

A person may not have in that person's possession on that person's person while in or on a private motor vehicle upon a public highway or in an area used principally for public parking, any bottle or receptacle containing alcoholic beverages which has been opened, or the seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed. It is unlawful for the owner of any private motor vehicle or the driver, if the owner be not then present in or on the motor vehicle, to keep or allow to be kept in a motor vehicle when such vehicle is upon the public highway or in an area used principally for public parking any bottle or receptacle containing such alcoholic beverages which has been opened, or the seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed except when such bottle or receptacle is kept in the trunk of the motor vehicle when such vehicle is equipped with a trunk, or kept in some other area of the vehicle not
normally occupied by the driver or passengers, if the motor vehicle is not equipped with a trunk.
I'm not good with law (the reason I came here -- thanks Google!), so maybe I'm misunderstanding it. But is there special clause in law since the owner of the vehicle was with me, the driver? Does that mean that he was liable for it? That's what I got out of it, anyway...but I won't be surprised to end up standing corrected. ;-)

Is there anything I can do? I don't want to get a lawyer involved. $500 isn't worth it for a $80 fine. However, this is incredibly frustrating to get a minor when, a) I chose not to drink, and b) I was simply protecting my friends. But I mean, as far as pleading my own case? Will the truth work? Is it going to depend on the judge?

The officer understood what I was saying, but he informed he that I should've got the alcohol out of the car before driving. Three things I have wrong with that:
a) It wasn't my car, so I didn't know it was there in the first place...But maybe ignorance isn't an excuse?
b) Once again, it was Joe's car. Joe can keep what he wants in his car...I (before this situation) would've figured that he was responsible for everything in there.
c) Joe is 18. I'm 19. How practical is it to tell your drunk 18-year-old friend to get rid of a half-empty bottle of alcohol he just paid $20 for? Not very.

Oh, and how does defending yourself work in court? What's the premise behind it? From what I understand, there's probably going to be a number of other people with similar charges in there that morning. The judge will call us up, one at a time, and he'll state what we're accused of...and then I get a quick and short opportunity to plead my case or what? If that's the case, that's where I'm looking for advce.

I realize we could've put the alcohol in the trunk..yeah, there were alternatives. But unfortunately, I didn't think I had to sit here and analyze every tiny aspect of the situation. I'm just looking for help. Thanks for reading this...
Last edited:

Son of Slam

Senior Member
It was a dark and stormy night,

He dangled his keys up in the air, indicating that the answer was yes

Some of the better advice sayers here may not take the time to read your novel. I would suggest you retype it and this time take only 5 minutes.

Just Blue

Senior Member
Son of Slam said:
He dangled his keys up in the air, indicating that the answer was yes

Some of the better advice sayers here may not take the time to read your novel. I would suggest you retype it and this time take only 5 minutes.

SoS....I have had a really BAD day...my 3 year old has been ill and puked all over me...needless to say I am in a sucky mood....BUT..then I read this post and the one to the drunk giving out advice on getting away with drunk driving...gave me a BIG chuckle...so Thank You!!

To the OP...I did take the time to read the novel...I thought it was well done...I don't have any advice for you but do hope things work out .....oh!...NO SUCH THING AS A ROLLING STOP...next time you see a stop sign come to a compleat stop...wait 3 sec...missippi 1 missippi 2 missippi 3 and then you can go. Try not to drive a little fast and a little impatient...you want to live to graduate from school. ;)
Good luck...


Junior Member
Well, here's what happened:

I plead no guilty and met with the district attorney. I explained the situation and she filed a dismissal of the case. It ended up getting signed and I'm off the hook.

Reason I tell you guys is so that if this comes up again, you can use me as an example!

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