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Underage Drinking Defense Lawyers
Helping the Accused in Phoenix

A person must be 21 years of age or older in order to legally purchase, possess and consume alcohol in Arizona. While many people do not adhere to this law, the fact of the matter is that if you are arrested and convicted of any charge related to underage drinking, you could face significant legal and other types of consequences that could follow you for many years and limit your opportunities in many situations.

All of this means that if you face these types of charges, you need to take immediate steps to secure help from an experienced Arizona underage drinking defense lawyer. Below you’ll find information regarding the laws in Arizona that relate to this issue, the consequences that could result from a condition and finally how you should proceed if you face any underage drinking charge in Arizona.

Arizona Underage Drinking Laws

There are several laws in existence in Arizona that deal with the issue of underage drinking. Below is a brief look at each and the potential penalties that could be imposed if a defendant is convicted.

Underage Consumption/Minor in Consumption of Alcohol

If someone is caught drinking before he or she has reached 21 years of age, that person will be arrested for this charge. Underage consumption, otherwise known as minor in consumption of alcohol, is classified as a misdemeanor and could lead to the following penalties:

  • Up to a $500 fine and court costs
  • A misdemeanor on your criminal record
  • Up to two years of suspension of your driving privileges
  • Community service requirements

Possession of Alcohol by a Minor

Even if a person who has not reached the age of 21 is caught with alcohol as opposed to consuming it, he or she will still be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor. This charge does not even necessitate the defendant holding the alcohol in his or her hand. Simply being near alcohol and having it accessible can lead to an arrest for this charge. The penalties that could come with a conviction are similar to those listed above for underage consumption.

Presenting False Identification to Purchase Alcohol

Many people have fake ID’s when they are too young to legally drink, and Arizona laws have imposed stiff penalties if a person is arrested for this charge. A conviction would be classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor with the potential for the following sanctions:

  • $750 fine
  • Up to four months in jail
  • Alcohol abuse treatment program completion

DUI for a Person Under 21

The most serious charge a person under the age of 21 can face is a DUI. Unlike ‘adult’ DUI charges, a minor need only have one drop of alcohol in his or her system to be arrested for DUI, even if he or she is not physically impaired. A DUI is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor and can carry the following consequences:

  • $1,500 in fines and costs
  • Up to 10 days in jail
  • Potential for 9 days of jail time to be suspended with completion of alcohol treatment and evaluation
  • Loss of driving privileges for up to two years
  • Community service and probation

Other Potential Consequences of Underage Drinking

Aside from the serious and significant criminal penalties that anyone could face if he or she is convicted of an underage drinking related charge in Arizona, there are also ‘real world’ consequences that could ultimately be just as if not more harmful than the penalties imposed by the court. Examples of these consequences appear below.

Expulsion/Suspension from School

Many schools in Arizona have codes of conduct for their students, and an arrest and/or conviction for one of the underage drinking charges mentioned above could result in a suspension or expulsion from the defendant’s current school. This could lead to extreme difficulty for that person if he or she wants to continue his or her education and could stall the defendant’s progress towards graduation.

Your Criminal Record

A misdemeanor is much more severe than a traffic ticket or some other civil forfeiture. A conviction for a misdemeanor appears on your criminal record. This means that every time you are asked about your criminal history, whether it’s on an application for additional education or even a job application, you will be required to disclose this information immediately and you’ll need to explain the situation that led to your arrest and conviction.

How a Phoenix Defense Lawyer Can Help

As can be seen, facing an underage drinking charge in Arizona is a serious situation for anyone. If you find yourself in this type of trouble, you do have rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution and you owe it to yourself to build a strong defense. That starts by contacting the Phoenix underage drinking defense lawyers at the Wroblewski & Associates today to schedule an initial consultation.

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