CHARGES: MINOR IN POSSESSION
The offenses for someone under the age of 21
In the state of Georgia, the laws surrounding minors in possession of alcohol and/or minors drinking and driving are eminently strict and if you are a minor who is arrested in the state of Georgia for either one of those charges, you need to contact legal counsel and representation immediately!
21 is the national, legal drinking age. The legal drinking age does not change from state to state. It does not matter where you are in the United States, it is illegal for a minor to be in possession of alcohol, much less purchase alcohol. Different states do however have different punishments and ways to handle minors when it comes to these matters.
Georgia's alcohol regulations in terms of minors can be found in the Official Code of Georgia § 3-3-23, which states that it is illegal for a minor to be in possession of alcohol, and that it is illegal for someone to sell alcohol to a minor or for a minor to purchase alcohol. It does go on to state that a minor may consume alcohol if it is for medical purposes or religious purposes (like receiving communion). If a minor works in a licensed establishment that sells alcohol, it is not illegal for a minor to serve or handle alcohol, take drink orders for alcoholic beverages, or any other conduct pertaining to alcohol that relates to employment. Just like if a minor was a gas station attendant or convenient store clerk, he or she would be able to sell beer, wine, or wine coolers to patrons.
The way that law enforcement officials usually determine that a minor has been drinking is by looking at their physical appearance like whether he or she has blood shot eyes or just the odor of alcohol being present. If a minor consumes alcohol and then drives, he or she could be arrested for DUI (driving under the influence) charge on top of his or her possession charges. It sounds funny to say that a person is in possession of alcohol when that possession is inside the body, but that it how it is said. Any person who is under the age of 21 who has a significant amount of alcohol in his or her system can be arrested with a DUI charge. The legal BAC (blood alcohol concentration) for anyone under the age of 21 nationally is .02 grams. If a minor has anything higher than that in his or her system, he or she can be arrested with a DUI charge. In a state that is zero tolerance like Georgia, a minor can be arrested even if he or she only has .01 grams in his or her system.
Are you a minor who has been charged?
If you are a minor who has been charged with possession of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle, the result of that charge is usually 180 day license suspension, as well as the possibilities of fines and probation. The minor in possession of alcohol in the vehicle does not even have to be DUI to lose his or her license for 180 days. The penalties for being a minor in the state of Georgia charged with possession of alcohol can be severe and can be a huge issue for the minor who relies on his or her car to get to school and/or work every day. They are forced to revert back to the days of relying on others to get where they need to go.
The punishments following a minor in possession of alcohol and even a DUI for someone under the age of 21 can be brutal and harsh. No one wants an adult, much less a minor, to be charged and convicted of a DUI, so that is why you need to seek legal representation as quickly as possible. Defending such cases of minors in possession of alcohol or DUI are very tedious cases that, if an attorney is experienced enough, he or she can possibly find where officers made mistakes while making the arrest or other openings that allow the evidence collected to be challenged by the defense.
Who should you contact?
Sam Sliger with McDonald & Cody is the criminal defense attorney on the team of attorneys at the firm and he is the attorney you should seek to help fight for your rights and help you receive the justice you deserve. Sam is an experienced attorney who will work diligently investigating the details of your case to determine what the best route for your claim will be. Sam is skilled and can possibly have your charges reduced, if not completely dismissed. With your case in Sam Sliger's hands, you can rest assured that your case is in the best possible hands that it could be. Contact Sam today and let him be legal representation that protects your rights and brings you the justice that you deserve.