Have You Or Your Loved One Been Charged With Underage Drinking?

Dwi Drunk Driving

Separate from juvenile crime, there are many types of cases that fall under the heading of underage violations. Most of these are alcohol-related and can have very serious consequences for the underage individual that has been charged.

At the Law Office of Christopher A. Connelly in Charlotte, North Carolina, our firm is led by experienced attorney Chris Connelly. He has over 25 years of experience handling a range of criminal defense matters, including underage drinking violations, for clients in many different communities. Mr. Connelly personally manages each case and our entire firm works hard to help ensure that your rights are protected and that your best interests are served.

(Note that we may associate an attorney in another firm to assist with some cases. We also, of course, employ capable support staff who handle various administrative aspects of cases.)

If you have been suspected of underage drinking or alcohol possession, do not talk to police. Talk to your attorney first. Contact our Charlotte firm to arrange a consultation.

Underage Alcohol and/or License Violations

We often hear: "I got an underage drinking ticket; I can just pay it, right? That's what my friends did!"

Can you just pay it? Perhaps. And then you too will have a criminal record, just like your friends. That criminal record will follow you forever and can impact your ability to get into a college or post-graduate program, and getting a job.

We also hear: "The officer told me to go to classes and it will go off my record!"

The officer has no authority to make that deal, only the District Attorney or Judge can dismiss a case. Because you take some classes doesn't mean the case will get dismissed, and it may not go off your record and it will foreclose options that you may need to keep open in the future.

Teens and college students are often peer pressured into drinking, just to go along with the crowd. What the crowd may not realize is that underage drinking and/or getting behind the wheel of a car can have consequences that can devastate for a long time. A conviction may be left on your record forever, you may be facing a suspended or revoked license until you turn 21, and jail time and fines are always possible punishments for underage alcohol possession and/or consumption. You may also incur points that affect your license and insurance, if the license is not taken away completely. It is important that you turn to a lawyer that is experienced and trustworthy in order to take these charges head on and fight for your rights.

If you are stopped for suspicion of DWI / drunk driving or Underage Alcohol Possession/Consumption, you may be subjected to an Alco-Sensor or Intox EC/ER-II test. Regardless of your blood alcohol content (BAC), you may be facing criminal charges as a result of your age and illegal consumption of alcohol.

In addition to underage drinking, we handle other specific types of underage charges related to drinking, including:

  • Driving By Person less than 21 years of age After Consuming Alcohol (also knows as Driving After Consuming Being Under 21, underage DWI / DUI / drinking and driving) NCGS 20-138.3
  • Sale or Purchase by underage persons (NCGS 18B-302)
  • Using Fake Identification (NCGS 18B-302)

DWI

Effective for offenses committed on or after December 1, 2011, a person convicted of Impaired Driving must be sentenced at Level One punishment (mandating a 30 day minimum in jail, maximum of 2 years in jail) if there was a child under the chronological age of 18 OR an adult with the mental development of a child under the age of 18 OR a person with a physical disability that prevented them from exiting the vehicle on their own.

Stopping Patterns at Vehicle Checkpoints

Effective December 1, 2011, the law now requires law enforcement agencies to designate in advance a pattern for stopping vehicles at checkpoints AND also prohibits law enforcement from basing a stopping pattern on a particular vehicle

Laura's Law

Effective December 1, 2011, the onerous "Laura's Law" could even increase punishment for a second-time DWI offense by establishing an "Aggravated Level One" punishment. This law mandates 12 months in prison if there are three or more Grossly Aggravating factors. Some of the more onerous applications that would require one year in jail would be if the defendant had a prior conviction from six years ago, never resolved their DWI related suspension and had a child in the car OR had two prior convictions from 6 years ago and never resolved their DWI related suspension. The defendant who receives this sentence of imprisonment must be released four months before the end of the maximum and be placed on post-release supervision. They must abstain from alcohol during this period and it must be verified by 24/7 monitoring system.

"Laura's Law" also provides for a permanent license revocation for this defendant and requires an ignition interlock if the person's license is restored.

Effective for offenses committed on or after January 1, 2012 a new statute provides for a civil revocation of a limited learner's permit or provisional license of a person under age 18 if the person is charged with a "criminal moving violation" as defined in that statute. An example of this could be a Speeding more than 15 miles over the limit or in excess of 80 MPH. This new statute appears to require the officer to arrest the young motorist and bring them before the magistrate who may immediately revoke their privilege.

Contact a Fake ID and Revoked License Defense Attorney Regarding Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Gaston Cases

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Call 704-376-9376 or e-mail our Charlotte office to schedule a consultation with our lawyer to further discuss your underage drinking violation or other underage charge.

The Law Office of Christopher A. Connelly
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Criminal Defense Attorney

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