Is it a big deal to be charged with underage possession? Well, that depends on what you think is a “big deal?” – Attorney Bill Powers
While underage possession of alcohol charges may not have resulted in an arrest, they can be rather embarrassing in the future, especially if you are applying for a job or even graduate school.
Employers generally prefer not to see anything on a Criminal History or Record; but, how someone responds when they made a mistake can actually make a difference.
If taken seriously, and handled appropriately, these types of cases can be a positive learning experience for college students – Bill Powers
One of the last things you would want to do is ignore a Citation or Summons. Failing to take action, respond to the Citation, or act appropriately can make a bad situation worse.
Going to Court can be a scary process. That’s why it can help to have someone standing next to you who understands how things work in the Criminal Justice system.
You should not assume that charges will be automatically dismissed. It’s a bit more complicated than that – Bill Powers
The State of North Carolina and Judges take these matters seriously, so should you.
It does not hurt to talk with a lawyer to discuss your options. Many attorneys in North Carolina provide a Confidential Consultation, Free of Charge.
They can answer questions like:
- How Does Court Work?
- What Will Happen?
- Are There Options Available?
- Will This Remain on My Permanent Record?
- Can I Get My Record Cleared?
Modified Transcript of “Is it a big deal to be charged with underage possession” for the Hearing Impaired
Hello, I’m Bill Powers and I’m one of the partners here at Powers Law Firm PA.
We help people with criminal traffic and DWI matters, both in North and South Carolina now.
This has been pretty popular with us answering questions for people, these are inquiries not to us individually, they’re posted on a LISTSERV, a public forum.
We don’t provide personal information off of it other than just giving some of the background materials. The questions are good because they’re common in the practice and things we see pretty regularly, not on necessarily a daily basis but almost there.
The first question is, it says, “North Carolina minor in possession, what can I expect?”
This is a person who apparently just started school at one of our major universities under age 21, got in trouble for possessing one malt beverage.
“Should I be looking to hiring a lawyer? What can I expect from the case? Will this have a major impact on job opportunities in the future?” Wow, great question, or I should questions.
These are always opportunities to be a learning experience I think for these young people in school.
Something that is pretty common, when I was in college the drinking age was 18 and now it’s been a while long time but it’s since been raised to 21 years of age.
What that means is that if you’re under 21 you cannot possess any form of alcohol, or I should say alcoholic beverage, specifically ethanol. While you can have isopropanol alcohol, rubbing alcohol, you can probably have methanol if you’re a drag strip racer but you just can’t have drinking alcohol.
Sometimes I get asked that question so that’s why I bring it up.
No beer, no wine, no fortified wine, no hard liquor, certainly no moonshine.
No one can possess non tax stamped liquors, or spirituous liquors as the statute says. The question is, do you need to hire a lawyer?
I think that’s how I infer this question, “What should I expect and what are the long term consequences?”
First and foremost if you’re at a state university I’d want to know where were you possessing the alcohol.
- Was it in a dorm?
- Was it on a public street or highway?
- Was it in a vehicle?
- Was it at a party off campus in an apartment?
Again, this is overall answering general question. Was it at a private school where maybe there was some rule or that you agreed to as a student to abide by a code of conduct? What happened?
If you’re having alcohol in a dorm that’s owned by the state of North Carolina, that could have not just criminal consequences but it also could affect your ability to stay in that dorm in the future and in some instance given the nature of the type of case and the universities individual policy and protocols, could kick you out of school for a while or put you on, I don’t know maybe double secret probation.
The point of matter is these are the type of questions as counsel, as lawyers we like to ask to find out what’s going on. If it was a possession of alcohol in a vehicle, that’s a different animal altogether.
- Were you the driver of the vehicle?
- Were you the passenger of the vehicle or passenger in the vehicle?
- What were the nature and the circumstances of receiving the citation?
Normally these things are … People are given citations, we refer to it as a uniform citation in North Carolina.
There are some types of offenses, let’s say you’re in possession of alcohol and you’re driving a vehicle, it’s not just a simple possession of alcohol, you’re not at a concert or something but you’re driving.
In that instance it’s an arrestable offense, meaning that you could get handcuffed and taken to the local jail, you could be tested on one of the devices they have at the jail and you could have to see a magistrate and post a bond in order to secure your release.
Getting around to the more specific question, “What are the long term consequences?
Could this affect a job?”
Any criminal case you don’t want to see it on a record, at the same time I’m an employer, we have employees here, people make mistakes.
As an employer I like to see that people learn from those mistakes.
There are some opportunities in some jurisdictions, for example there may be a deferred disposition, a deferral type of program.
There may be something where you could do some community service or you agree to stay out of trouble for a period of time.
Then there’s the issue of whether or not you were actually possessing the alcohol and can the state prove that?
As you could probably see they’re complicated, there are a lot of moving parts.
We like to sit down with clients and ask a bunch of questions in order to give answers. We ask questions to give more answers and let the client decide what they want to do and what they think is best for them.
Our consultation is free.
You can call us up.
You can come by the office.
We normally prefer to set an appointment as you might imagine. It’s confidential, we don’t post anything personal on the internet or get a sky writer or anything like that.
Good inquiry, we do see a lot of these nowadays, especially in the Fall when kids are just starting school and they’re getting used to being outside the house and not having protection and guidance if you will of people like me, parents.
I think you’re doing the right thing, ask questions, find out. It gets more complicated if you decide to handle it and then something go south and then you’re trying to fix something that maybe a lawyer could have avoided consequence in the future.
Not a guarantee, not a promise but because the consultation’s free and confidential, doesn’t hurt to call and ask a lawyer, whether it’s us or someone else.
Good inquiry, thank you.