To be charged with an underage alcohol offense, you must order, pay for a 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 may have a defense.
Contact our highly skilled Columbus alcohol crimes attorneys at (614) 500-3836 if you are facing an underage alcohol offense. Through a solid defense strategy, we may be able to improve your situation and save your future.
Underage Drinking Laws in Ohio
Underage drinking laws in Ohio prohibit anyone who is under 21 years of age from purchasing, possessing, or consuming alcohol. In addition, these laws make it illegal for anyone who is underage to be under the influence of alcohol in a public place.
It’s important to note that it’s common for someone who is charged with an underage drinking offense to be charged with an additional offense. For example, if you are facing an underage drinking charge and you are recklessly causing inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, you may also be charged with disorderly conduct.
Enforcement of Underage Drinking Laws in Columbus
You should understand that Ohio does not tolerate underage drinking. Therefore, if you get caught for possession under 21 or drinking under 21 in public, the law will be enforced. Even if you are on a college campus, at an Ohio State University football game, or at a party at a sorority or fraternity house, you may face an underage drinking charge if you disregard the state’s underage drinking laws.
Underage Drinking Consequences
An underage alcohol offense charge is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If this is your first offense, a judge may sentence you to probation or community control punishments instead. Once you successfully complete the program, the judge may wipe the offense from your record as well.
How an Underage Alcohol Offense Can Affect Your Future
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 by contacting our Columbus underage alcohol crimes attorneys.
Why Contact Our Columbus Underage Alcohol Crimes Attorneys
If you are facing an underage drinking charge, our Columbus alcohol crimes attorneys will take the time to investigate your case and figure out which defense strategies make the most sense for your particular situation.
We will likely begin by determining whether you can get accepted into an alcohol diversion program. The prosecutor and Court will consider your previous criminal and traffic record to determine whether you qualify for this program.
The alcohol diversion program is designed to help anyone who has been caught with underage drinking and possession to change their behavior through awareness, education, and community service. You should only consider this program if you are serious about taking responsibility for your negative actions.
The program can be completed within five months from the date your case was filed in the Court. If you do get accepted into an alcohol diversion program and successfully complete it on time, your charge may be dismissed and records of your case can be expunged.
In the event, the alcohol diversion program is not an option or you decide that you do not want to participate in it, our Columbus alcohol crimes attorneys may help you plead Not Guilty and defend against your underage drinking charge through the court process. You can expect pretrial hearings, hearings on motions to suppress evidence, and a trial if we choose the court process route. Regardless of which defense strategy we use, our legal representation will help ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
Contact Luftman, Heck & Associates Today
If you’ve been charged with an underage drinking charge in Columbus, it is in your best interest to contact Luftman, Heck & Associates at (614) 500-3836, or reach out via our online form. Our Columbus alcohol crimes attorneys have years of experience fighting for the future of promising high school and college students for years. By contacting us, you may be able to avoid a lifetime of underage drinking consequences.
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