What should I plea if charged with underage consumption?

My buddy and I were pulled over and I was in the passengers seat. After questioning my friend and arresting him, he asked me to get out of the car and asked me if I had anything to drink. I wasn’t really sure what to do so I just told him the truth, that I had a couple of drinks. He did the eye test on me and didn’t tell me if I passed or not. He did not breathalyze me but then proceeded to place me under arrest. Should I speak with a criminal law attorney? I’m in Warren County, OH.

Asked on October 17, 2011 under Criminal Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Underage consumption is a first-degree misdemeanors in your state. A conviction carries a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail, a $1,000 fine and may also result in a criminal record. If you are convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor, you may have to answer "yes" if asked "Were you ever convicted of a crime?" on an application for a job, graduate school, or professional license.

Even if you are guilty of underage consumption, a plea bargain or pretrial diversion program may enable you to avoid being tagged with a criminal conviction. And if the case is resolved without a conviction, a defense lawyer may be able to seal your arrest record so you would not need to disclose it on job applications, etc. According you should speak directly with a criminal law attorney in your area that handles these type cases.


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