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  1. #1

    Default Charged with Underage Possession of Alcohol but I Did Not Have Any Alcohol on Me

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Virginia

    I am at college and a friend of mine was drunk and laying on the ground outside of an apartment. I watched over him while I waited for my other friends to come outside so we could leave. However, there was police car at the other end of the parking lot watching us. After I pulled my friend off the ground we tried to walk to the bus stop and go home. Then the police officer got out of his car and asked us to come talk to him. So when we got over there he said that he saw us both urinating on the ground. I was VERY surprised to hear that because it was completely untrue. After a few minutes of trying to explain that to him he finally accepted the truth. Then the officer wrote down my friend's information and gave him a court date with the charge of "underage possession of alcohol." Next the officer wrote down my information and gave me the same charge and court date.

    We did not have any alcohol in our hands or even near us at the time (but I have heard the the body can be considered a container of alcohol). The officer just assumed we had been drinking (my friend did, but I did not). I did not admit to drinking alcohol and he did not breathalize us or do anything to prove we had consumed alcohol. I was very angry so I did not argue over it with the officer in order to prevent myself from saying something I would regret later.

    I think this is an unfortunate case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was only trying to help friend get home and now I may get in serious trouble.

    So I am here to ask: Do I have any real chance of getting this charge dropped? or should I not even bother trying to defend myself and just accept the inevitable? If I am decided guilty what kind of punishment should I expect?


    Thank you in advance for reading.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Charged with Under Age Possession of Alcohol (but I Did Not Have Any Alcohol on M

    My experience with this sort of thing is limited so don't take what I am saying as anything more than an opinion, but I think you will have a chance. If you had not drank (therefore were not drunk) and had no alcoholic on you, no crime was committed. They need to prove you did to convict you, without evidence they probably wont even try. The only chance they have is if the cop goes up and tries to lie, which may not work in the absence of any evidence. I find it a little odd that he would do this with no evidence.

    As for punishment should you plead guilty, this is the statute and below is an excerpt:
    C. Any person found guilty of a violation of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor; and upon conviction, (i) such person shall be ordered to pay a mandatory minimum fine of $500 or ordered to perform a mandatory minimum of 50 hours of community service as a condition of probation supervision and (ii) the license to operate a motor vehicle in the Commonwealth of any such person age 18 or older shall be suspended for a period of not less than six months and not more than one year; the license to operate a motor vehicle in the Commonwealth of any juvenile shall be handled in accordance with the provisions of 16.1-278.9. The court, in its discretion and upon a demonstration of hardship, may authorize an adult convicted of a violation of this section the use of a restricted permit to operate a motor vehicle in accordance with the provisions of subsection E of 18.2-271.1 or when referred to a local community-based probation services agency established pursuant to Article 9 ( 9.1-173 et seq.) of Chapter 1 of Title 9.1. During the period of license suspension, the court may require an adult who is issued a restricted permit under the provisions of this subsection to be (a) monitored by an alcohol safety action program, or (b) supervised by a local community-based probation services agency established pursuant to Article 9 ( 9.1-173 et seq.) of Chapter 1 of Title 9.1, if one has been established for the locality. The alcohol safety action program or local community-based probation services agency shall report to the court any violation of the terms of the restricted permit, the required alcohol safety action program monitoring or local community-based probation services and any condition related thereto or any failure to remain alcohol-free during the suspension period.
    In other words, it does not matter if a car was involved, you will loose your license for 6 months to a year if convinced. Get a lawyer or public defender, this one is worth fighting.

    ps. Not fighting with the cop was a very smart move, that sort of maturity can only work in your favor at trial.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    9,096

    Default Re: Charged with Under Age Possession of Alcohol (but I Did Not Have Any Alcohol on M

    I am confused. Did you drink or did you not?

    If the officer smelt alcohol on your breath, the game changes.

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