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Underage Alcohol Offenses

To be charged with an underage alcohol offense, you must order, pay for share the cost of, attempt to buy, possess or drink beer or liquor in either a public or private place. If you are supervised by a parent, spouse who’s not underage or a legal guardian, or if the alcohol was given to you by a doctor or for religious purposes, then you will not be prosecuted.

Every day in central Ohio minors are charged with underage alcohol offenses. An underage alcohol offense charge is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail.

If you are convicted of an underage alcohol offense, additional potential issues include:

  • Maintaining your current employment
  • Issues with your college or university
  • Difficulty getting a good job in the future
  • Difficulty and possible denial in immigration and naturalization proceedings

Simply put, if you are convicted of an underage alcohol offense, it could remain on your criminal background for the rest of your life. No matter what the circumstances were in your case, you rightly or wrongly run the risk of being considered a person who has had an issue with alcohol. Therefore, it is critical that you to give your underage alcohol offense the level of importance it deserves.

The Columbus Criminal Defense team takes a two pronged approach to all underage alcohol offense cases. First and foremost, we will figure out what mistakes the police made and what legal issues can be raised on your behalf.

We do this by requesting discovery from the prosecutor. The discovery will generally consist of police reports, additional investigative notes and potentially a lab analysis of the alcohol. As our client, you will receive a copy of everything received from the prosecutor for your review

Based on the legal weaknesses in the State of Ohio’s case and any other mitigating factors, we will negotiate the best possible plea available with the prosecutor for you to consider in resolving your case.

If your case cannot be resolved satisfactorily with a plea, it would then proceed to a motion hearing (a hearing where the judge issues a ruling on an evidentiary issue) or a trial to the judge or jury, depending on the circumstances.

The second approach taken by the Columbus Criminal Defense team is to identify whether you have an alcohol or substance abuse problem and if there are treatment programs available in lieu of jail or a conviction on your case.

For nearly ten years, the Columbus Criminal Defense team has successfully represented clients on underage alcohol offenses. That extensive previous experience will enable us to better help you.

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If you’ve been charged with an underage alcohol offense, it’s important to know what you’re up against. If you have any questions left unanswered by this page, or if you need a competent, experienced underage alcohol attorney to fight for you in court, please contact us at or via email at

This is a misdemeanor of the first degree and carries the following penalties:
  • A jail sentence of up to 180 days
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $1,000
Have a question we didn’t answer below? Feel free to email us or call us and we’ll help you out.

For a first-time offense, it’s more common for a judge to sentence to you to a diversion program and probation. If you successfully complete the program, the judge may wipe the offense from your record as well.

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Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP
580 E Rich St Fl 2
Columbus, OH 43215-5335


FAX: (614) 413-2886