If I was caught drunk in public and being under the legal drinking age, can they charge me 5 months later?

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If I was caught drunk in public and being under the legal drinking age, can they charge me 5 months later?

I am 18. I was on paroll at the time. The prosecution wants to convince the judge to charge me with this crime additionally at my upcoming trial for an unrelated crime, to which I have pled not guilty. The police officer who caught me drunk in public and being underage made the decision to not press charges but to seek medical attention. Five months later, the incident is being brought up in criminal court. Can they charge me with drunk in public and/or underage drinking if the officer decided at the time of the crime not to charge me?

Asked on April 2, 2012 under Criminal Law, Virginia

Answers:

Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yest, the prosecutors can still attempt to charge you. Police Officers do not have the legal authority to "charge" you with a crime, they can only make a determination whether to arrest you for a crime, and whether to submit their criminal information (i.e. police report, citation, etc) to the prosecutor to determine if charges will be filed. Thus, this power exists with the prosecutor, who it appears would like to charge you with these offenses, regardless of the officers intentions.


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