Under Ohio law, no underage person shall knowingly order, pay for, share the cost of, attempt to purchase, possess, or consume any beer or intoxicating liquor in any public or private place. No underage person shall knowingly be under the influence of any beer or intoxicating liquor in any public place. Exceptions exist in that if the underage person is supervised by a parent, spouse who’s not underage or a legal guardian, or if the alcohol was given by a doctor or for religious purposes, then no charges will be filed. Underage alcohol offenses are not limited to underage people, an adult can be charged if he or she
- sell beer or intoxicating liquor to an underage person
- buy beer or intoxicating liquor for an underage person, or
- furnish it to an underage person
What are the punishments for Underage Alcohol Offenses?
In Ohio, an underage alcohol offense charge is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail. However, for most first time underage offenders, the court will likely order the child into a diversion program specified by the court and hold the complaint in abeyance pending successful completion of the diversion program. If the child completes the program, then the court will dismiss the complaint and order the child’s record in the case sealed. If the child does not complete the program, the court will proceed with the complaint and charge the child with underage alcohol offense. If you are convicted, there are additional consequences besides the jail time and fines:
- 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
How can a criminal defense attorney help me?
Simply put, if you are convicted of an underage alcohol offense, it could remain on your criminal background for the rest of your life. Therefore, it is critical that you to give your underage alcohol offense the level of importance it deserves.
If you are facing legal charges for underage alcohol offenses, a trained criminal defense attorney may help you fight and defend your rights both outside and inside of the court house. A minor in possession attorney can help determine the following elements which will affect how your MIP case will turn out:
- Whether you, given the particular facts of your case, actually violated Ohio law
- Whether the arresting police or law enforcement officer followed the law
- Whether the evidence lab made a mistake
- Whether you have an affirmative defense to the underage alcohol offense
Are you in trouble? Contact us.
If you’ve been charged with an underage alcohol offense, it’s important to know what you’re up against. Complete the form on this page to have local attorneys call you directly. The form is quick and easy to complete and attorneys will call you at no cost or obligation.