Minor in Possession

Minor in Possession of Alcohol or Drugs Law
On May 7, 1989 changes in the law on minors in possession of drugs and/or alcohol (MIP) were implemented. 13-17 year olds who are guilty of either a drug or alcohol offense were impacted. In all cases, the penalty is automatic revocation of the driving privilege, or ability to obtain a license.

Joan Baird, Assistant Director for Driver Services for The Department of Licensing is concerned that parents and minors understand the consequences. "It appears that MIP and DWI are related in the public's perception. With a DWI, you must be operating a motor vehicle. A minor in possession will have the driving privilege revoked whether or not a vehicle is involved.

The minor could be at home, at a party, or just walking down the street." Baird emphasized the following points:
  • For the first offense, the privilege to drive is revoked for one year from the date the diversion agreement or finding of guilt, until age 17, whichever is longer. For second and subsequent offenses, the revocation is two years or until age 18, whichever is longer.
  • On second and subsequent offenses, early reinstatement cannot take place until the juvenile turns 17; or one year after the date judgment is entered or the Diversion Agreement is signed, whichever is later.
  • On the first alcohol and/or drug offense, the minor is eligible for early reinstatement 90 days after the 16th birthday; or 90 days after the judgment is entered or the Diversion Agreement is signed, whichever is later. This is not automatic, but granted at the discretion of the court or the Diversion program.
  • Those who have a driver's license or permit must surrender it to the department and occupational licenses cannot be issued. For each conviction of driving while revoked, the revocation may be extended one year.
  • When a person signs a Diversion Agreement regarding an alcohol or drug offense, or a court finds a person guilty of such offense, it must be reported to the Department of Licensing.
  • When minors become eligible to obtain a driver's license or permit, they must take the written and driving tests, even if they have taken them before. In addition to the cost of the license, a $20 reinstatement fee is charged.
For questions pertaining to suspensions and reinstatements, contact the Department of Licensing in Olympia at 360-902-3900.