Silver Spring Underage Drinking Defense Lawyer

Experienced Underage Drinking Lawyer in Silver Spring, MD

Underage drinking might be considered a juvenile crime if it is committed by a person less than 18 years old. If you are at least 18 years old but younger than 21 years old, you will be charged as an adult. It can feel very unfair to be charged as an adult for an offense that involves being underage, but unfortunately, it is possible to be a legal adult who is too young to drink. Underage drinking is a misdemeanor offense, but it can still have a serious impact on your life.

An underage drinking charge can interfere with your chances of getting into college if you are still in high school, or get you in trouble if you are already in college. You could also be fined up to $500 for a first offense or face other legal consequences. You need a skilled Montgomery County, MD criminal defense lawyer. If you have been arrested for underage drinking or a related crime, The Law Offices of Gerstenfield & Demirji, PC. can help.

Underage Drinking as a Juvenile Crime

There are a lot of benefits to keeping your case in juvenile court. It is generally easier to have your record sealed so that the offense does not follow you for the rest of your life, and you may be eligible for a diversion program aimed at juvenile offenders. However, you may still need to report this type of conviction when you are applying for colleges or job training programs after high school.

Although it is quite common for teenagers to drink, getting caught can have serious repercussions.

Other Offenses Related to Underage Alcohol Use

Simply being in possession of alcohol or buying alcohol is a criminal offense if you are under the age of 21, even if you were not actually drinking it when you were caught. Other crimes related to underage drinking include:

  • Using a fake ID - Using a fake ID to try to buy alcohol is a more serious charge. You could face some jail time and have your driver's license suspended.
  • Underage DUI - Minors can be charged with a DUI for driving with any detectable amount of alcohol in their bodies. Even if you only had one drink and were hardly drunk, you could be convicted of a DUI. You may also face jail time and lose your driving privileges for quite some time.
  • Providing alcohol to minors - If you were serving alcohol to other minors, you might be charged with a more serious offense.

If you are charged with any alcohol-related offense, it is important to take it seriously and work with and experienced defense attorney.

When is it Legal for Minors to Drink or Possess Alcohol?

In Maryland, it is legal for minors to drink alcohol under very limited circumstances. First, if you are at least 18 years old and you work in a restaurant or other establishment that is licensed to serve alcohol, you may pour and serve beer or wine, or serve liquor prepared by a bartender who is at least 21 years old. You may be "in possession" long enough to carry the beverage to your customer's table.

Minors may also drink in a private residence if a family member who is over the age of 21 years old is present and supervising them. In most cases, this means that one of your parents needs to be there. A parent may choose to allow his or her child to have an alcoholic beverage in his or her own home.

Finally, minors may consume alcohol as part of a religious ceremony. This most commonly applies to the wine used in communion by Catholic and other Christian churches.

Contact a Silver Spring, MD Underage Drinking Lawyer

The Law Offices of Gerstenfield & Demirji, PC. is committed to helping minors who have been charged with underage drinking or related offenses. Our dedicated Montgomery County, MD underage drinking attorneys can represent you in juvenile or adult court. Contact us at 301-589-9500 for a complimentary consultation.

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