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The potential punishments related to alcohol charges for underage / minor users vary greatly and depend upon numerous factors, including the type and amount of alcohol involved, the role of the person charged, the circumstances surrounding the arrest, the previous record of the person charged, and the number of charges the person is currently facing. The majority of alcohol related offenses range from Class 1 to Class 3 misdemeanors. Chapter 18B of the North Carolina General Statutes lays out the guidelines for most alcohol related offenses, and indicates that unless a different punishment is specifically mentioned by a particular statute, a violation of any provision of Chapter 18B shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor.
By way of example, selling or giving alcohol to a person under 21, an adult aiding and abetting a minor, using Fake / fraudulent identification, and DWI / DUI offenses are Class 1 misdemeanors. In NC, a Class 1 misdemeanor may be punished by up to 120 days in jail for those with extensive prior records. Otherwise, a judge is more likely impose shorter jail sentences, suspended sentences, fines, probation, and/or community service depending on the prior record of the offender. DWI / DUI offenses follow a different sentencing structure and can include fines up to $10,000 and several years in prison.
A minor aiding and abetting another minor is considered a class 2 misdemeanor. A person aged 19 or 20 who purchases, consumes, or possesses malt beverages, fortified or unfortified wine, or spirituous liquor will typically be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor. Open container violations are also typically Class 3 misdemeanors.
Besides the potential criminal punishments, there may be additional consequences for underage offenders in NC. For instance, many alcohol related offenses, including use of a fraudulent identification, may require a 1-year driver's license suspension for the underage offender. Further, in the highly competitive education and job market these days, having an alcohol related offense on your record can greatly impact your college search and/or job search.
Prior to going to court and potentially taking any sort of plea deal or guilty plea, it is very important that you understand fully what you have been charged with, what class your charge(s) is, and the possible sentences associated with each charge and all charges collectively. It is also important to be aware of the potential tryable issues present in your case, and the plea deals, deferred prosecution, and diversionary programs that may be available to you.
To speak with one of our Charlotte Mecklenburg criminal defense lawyers today regarding your alcohol related matter, call us at 704-412-1442. We can help.
As discussed in the introductory paragraph on this page, we take numerous steps in every alcohol case to ensure that your rights have not been violated, including: the steps taken by officers prior to arrest, probable cause, the search, validity of warrants, and all other circumstances leading up to, during, and following the actual arrest. North Carolina laws are very specific as to the steps and requirements officers must follow prior to a search and seizure of alcohol. Many cases therefore hinge on whether proper protocol was followed by police officers in making an alcohol related arrest rather than the guilt of the accused. We are here to make sure your rights were not violated. Our attorneys will work with you to develop a strategy to aggressively defend your rights each step of the way through the legal process.
Our Charlotte Mecklenburg criminal defense attorneys are also well versed in the diversionary programs, deferred prosecution, and potential plea deals that may help you keep items off your permanent record. Finally, we are prepared to represent your interests zealously and will press forward aggressively with trial when appropriate. Have questions? We can help. 704-412-1442.
We can help.
Our attorneys are experienced with alcohol related matters and are here to help with all steps involved in the process of resolving your issue, including: analyzing the details of your case to determine if there are tryable issues, walking you through your options, negotiating a plea deal deal with a district attorney on your behalf, or pressing forward with and representing your interests zealously at trial.
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To speak with one of our Charlotte Mecklenburg criminal attorneys regarding your alcohol related matter, call us today at 704-412-1442 for a free consultation.
Our Charlotte based criminal lawyers are well versed on the laws and legal issues that underage alcohol offenders face. If you have questions about any of the material on this page, or if you would like to speak to attorney regarding your particular matter, contact us today. We can help.
There are a broad range of alcohol related charges available to prosecutors in the state of North Carolina, which relate to the sale, consumption, use, possession, transport, and distribution of alcohol, malt beverages, fortified and unfortified wine, and spirituous liquor.
A good number of these charges are related to underage / minor offenders. The legal drinking age in North Carolina is 21 years of age. It is therefore illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase, consume, or possess alcohol. The use of Fake ID's is another common issue among minor / underage offenders and result in serious charges depending on the circumstances and role of the offender. NC laws are also very strict regarding underage age drinking and driving. While a person over 21 must have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.8 or higher to be charged with DWI / DUI, a person under the age of 21 may be charged with a DWI / DUI for any BAC level. North Carolina has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving, which means an underage offender may be charged with DWI / DUI if driving after only one sip of alcohol.
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Our Charlotte Mecklenburg criminal defense lawyers can help with all underage charges related to malt beverages, fortified or unfortified wine, and spirituous liquor, including but not limited to: underage purchase, consumption and/or possession, aiding and abetting, public consumption, public intoxication, fake or fraudulent ID use, disorderly conduct, open container violations, transportation related charges, and unauthorized premises charges.