What to do if I recently got in trouble from underage drinking out of state?

UPDATED: Mar 18, 2013

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What to do if I recently got in trouble from underage drinking out of state?

I actually received 3 tickets, one being underage drinking, one for drunkenness, and one for a fake ID. I have to go to court there, and my friends who have gotten tickets down there, have told me not to get a lawyer because the lawyer won’t even be able to speak on my behalf. What will my punishment be? My friends that have gotten tickets before said I won’t have my license suspended but I found something online that says I will. And how much will all of this cost? Is there any way I can get any of these charges dropped? This is the first time I have ever been in trouble with the law, is it worth getting them expunged?

Asked on March 18, 2013 under Criminal Law, Virginia


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your friends probably have really good intentions, but you would be better off talking to at least one criminal defense attorney. (Preferably two...)  Attorneys can and do speak on your behalf.  Try to find one that is familiar with the jurisdiction where you got your tickets.  They may be able to get you access to a pre-trial diversion program to get a conditional dismissal.  The charges you describe don't carry a huge punishment range-- usually a fine and court costs.  However, it's still a charge on your record-- so it is worth it to find alternatives to pleading guilty and having a conviction on your record.  Yes, an expungement is worth the money, time, and effort.  Many question/answer sites like this one are riddled with people that want to clean up their records because a criminal history is affecting their employment options or scholarship options.  You're looking at $300-1000 for an attorney, but it really is a small fee to make sure that this does not haunt your record more than it should.

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