My question involves criminal law for the state of: North Carolina
My friends and I were driving back from down town at about 1 am. We got pulled over because my friend driving had expirered tags. We are all 20. The officer came up to the car and asked for ID and registration. The driver handed him his ID and he couldn't find the new registration so he used last years. He asked where we were coming from and we said the club. He asked for all of our IDs and so we gave them. With that he said he smelled alcohol in the car and asked if any of us had anything to drink that night and we said no. So he asked us all if we'd take breathalyzer tests. We said we do not consent to anything. He then pulled the driver out of the car and made him do sobriety tests. The driver came back and said that he completed the test perfectly. Then about 3 minutes later, 4 officers showed up and took the driver out of the car again. They put him in the passenger seat of the patrol car and rolled up the windows. The officer said he smelled alcohol. The driver never consented to a breathalizer and has been charged with consuming alcohol and operating a vehicle underage.
Now here's what I don't understand. My other friend and I were in the car and we were charged with underage consumption. How were they allowed to give us that? We were spectators the entire time and we never consented to any breathalizer tests. The only evidence they couldve gathered is from their judgement of smell. (and we didnt smell like alcohol) I asked the officer today and he said that he smelled alcohol on our breath, but we were never really questioned or confronted. We were basically just handed the tickets at the end of the driver's ordeal.
Are they allowed to charge us with that? Was there enough evidence? And I'm going to be putting in a good amount of money for a lawyer. How do my chances look in court?
Extras: my friend will be 21 in about a week, me in 3 months. The driver, later.
They spelled my name wrong on the ticket.