Alcohol Related Charges
Underage drinking among high school and college kids is, unfortunately, fairly common. Alcohol plays a predominant and visible role in our society, so it’s not a major surprise when people who are under 21 experiment with alcohol. While underage drinking is seen by some as normal or tolerated, law enforcement does not share that view. Being charged with any underage drinking related charge can come with devastating consequences; some of the most common charges include:
- Minor in possession of alcohol
- Minor under the influence of alcohol
- Minor operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol (Underage DUI)
- Using a Fake ID to Obtain Alcohol
Minors in Possession of Alcohol, Minor Consumption
Your child goes out to a party or tells you they are sleeping over at a friend’s house, and the next day you find out they have been arrested for underage possession or consumption of alcohol. It’s very normal as a parent to have a very emotional reaction to this. Not only is your child in trouble with the law, but you also may have had no previous indication that they were experimenting with alcohol. It can be a lot of information for a parent to process. Typically these types of charges would involve a fine and no jail time. As your defense lawyer, I can help usher you through the process, but there is often very little that can be done about the outcome of the case as the prosecution has very little to prove.
Parties and the Problems They Can Create
Normally when Marietta or Atlanta area law enforcement shows up to a party where underage drinking is taking place, the police send everyone home, maybe charging a few kids to make an example out of them. However, there are also situations where police officers choose to charge everyone to the full extent of the law, and that can result in serious charges. While they are rare, people throwing a party can be charged with:
- Illegal sale of alcohol (if people are paying for drinks or cups)
- Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor (of people drinking are under 21)
- Selling Alcohol to Minors / Purchasing Alcohol for Minors
These are all very serious charges and can result in jail time. In addition to the criminal charges, there is also the possibility of negligence or liability issues if destruction of property, or an automobile accident result from you providing alcohol at a party.
A note to parents about allowing kids and their friends to drink
I often hear about parties where a parent allows children to drink at their house. Typically this involves some empty promise like “so long as no one overdoes it” or “so long as no one drives”. I understand the pressure that young people are under, especially around times like Prom or Graduation. I also understand the logic around believing your children and their friends are safer at your home than they are at a hotel or other public place. All of that said, allowing minors, or even adults under the age of 21 to drink in your house can create massive liability issues. You are creating a situation that can very quickly get out of control with major potential for both criminal charges and liability issues.
When Underage Drinking Is a Red Flag
More that just the legal consequences of underage drinking, I think as parents it’s important to understand the bigger picture as well. Your child’s drinking may be an indicator of a bigger problem with chemical and substance abuse. There is a big difference between having a beer or two in a park at night vs. blacking out after drinking a liter of hard liquor. Understanding the context and trying to determine if this is relatively innocent social alcohol experimentation, or potentially abusive behavior is as important as the legal outcome of your situation.
Free Consultation – Experienced Juvenile Charges Defense Lawyer
I know that hiring a lawyer is a big decision, and that’s why I provide a free initial consultation to the parents of minor children or under-21 adults who are facing charges related to underage drinking. I can meet with you in my Marietta office or another location. My goal for our first meeting is to help you understand how Georgia law applies to your specific situation and your how I can help you minimize the effects of the charges.