The Penalties for Underage Drinking
In North Carolina, the underage consumption of alcohol can be charged as a Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable by up to 120 days in jail. In addition to jail, punishment can include a fine and probation. In general, a misdemeanor conviction is permanent. It may prevent you from getting a job, into an apartment or into a school. It may not sound like a a serious charge but it can have lifelong consequences.
HOWEVER, just because you are charged with a crime does not mean you are guilty of anything. Before you can be convicted of a crime, the state must be able to prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition, you may be able to suppress illegally obtained evidence or negotiate with the District Attorney’s Office based on your character and accomplishments. Also, you may be eligible for an alternative disposition that will keep your record “clean”. It is important that you immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case.
What is Required for Your Defense
Criminal Defense requires extensive knowledge of Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, the Rules of Evidence, and Criminal Procedure. It also requires familiarity with the other parties involved including the judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers. How you deal with these laws and these people will likely determine whether you will be convicted and (if convicted) the nature and extent of your punishment.
The Next Step
The outcome of your case may have a tremendous impact on your life. I would encourage you to be proactive and continue to gather information. We have been named to the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers for consecutive years, and we have an Avvo Rating of 10 out of a maximum of 10 based upon our reputation, experience and conduct. We are available at (910) 341-7570 now to provide you additional information.