If I’m 20 and received an open container infraction the other day at a bonfire with some friends, what will happen now?

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If I’m 20 and received an open container infraction the other day at a bonfire with some friends, what will happen now?

The can that I was charged with wasn’t in my hand how. If I plead guilt by paying the fine, will anything show up on my record? If so, is it worth going to court to get the infraction dissmissed?

Asked on June 7, 2015 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

In CA, if someone under the age of 21 is caught with alcohol, whether open or not, they will face charges for underage drinking.�State law prohibits anyone that age from possessing any alcoholic beverage. This violation is punishable as a misdemeanor, with a possible fine of $250 and community service up to 32 hours. Additionally, the minor�may face a�1 year suspension of their driver's license or a 1 year delay in the time in which they can obtain a license.

Since this is a misdemeanor, it means that a conviction will become part of your permanent criminal history record. This can have serious lifelong consequences for you, so it is critical to fight the charge. At this point, you should consult with an attorney who specializes in these cases. After hearing all of the details of the case, including the fact that the can was not in your hands, they can best advise you on how to proceed. There are defenses that can be employed on your behalf. Frankly, any time criminal charges are brought, it is advisable to obtain legal representation.

 


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