What can I expect f I was recently charged along with my other 3 roommates for enabling consumption by minors?

Our ages are 19, 19, 20 and 22. My roommates had a few other people over and I was in bed asleep because I had work early the next morning. I am also a subtenant for the summer so my name is not actually on the lease for the house. I have a hearing the summer and I am just wondering what to expect for a penalty.

Asked on July 21, 2015 under Criminal Law, Vermont

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If convicted and if you don't have a major criminal history.... then you will probably face a short probation and fine.  Unless a child is endangered, these are usually not "go to jail for life" type cases.  If this was a more serious situation, then they would be charging you with child endangerment, not enabling consumption.

As far as what to expect on your first date of court... the first court date is usually an announcement type proceeding.  This is where the judge will ask you how you wish to plea, if you have an attorney, and how you would like to handle your case.  Basically an arraignment.  For the purposes of this hearing you can and should enter a plea of not guilty.  You can request to talk to the prosecutor on your own and see what they are willing to offer you... but do not disclose details about the case.  They can and potentially will use any statements made by you against you later. 

This is a lower level offense which, as mentioned, is not a death sentence type case.  However, even certain misdemeanors can impact certain career options.  Before you enter any type of plea, do at least a consultation with a criminal attorney to make sure that you understand how a plea will impact your current job, any school plans, and any future career plans.  Many attorneys will offer free consultations.  Take advantage of these to really understand what you can and should do.


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