Can my daughter be charged in juvenile court based upon only the word of other accused teens for minor consumption?

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Can my daughter be charged in juvenile court based upon only the word of other accused teens for minor consumption?

received a letter from juvenile court today charging my 15 year old daughter with minor consumption. The charge is based upon other teenagers, who were also accused, saying that she was at a party that happened 5 months ago. There is no other evidence, is this enough to charge my daughter?

Asked on June 14, 2012 under Criminal Law, Utah

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your daughter can be accused of committing the offense of consumption of alcohol by a minor based on the eyewitness testimony of any person.  If these other minors are saying that she consumed or possessed alochol, then she can be charged, even though the veracity or ability of these kids to make the accussation may be questionable.  Even though your daughter can be charged, this does not mean that she will automatically be found guilty.  If the only evidence is that she was at the same party, then that evidence is insufficient to support a conviction.  The State would need to present additional testimony by the other minors that not only was she there, but that she also consumed alcohol and they knew it was alcohol because...."  The judge would then have to believe their testimony.  If the judge doesn't believe their testimony or they cannot offer additional details, then your daughter won't be convicted.  There may be additional evidence that they haven't told you about considering that they are going forward with these charges.  You may want to obtain a juvenile criminal attorney or request a court appointed attorney to make sure that you and your daughter have a chance to inspect all of the evidence before you make any final decisions.


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