ShouldI obtain a criminalattorney regardinga “providing alcohol to underage” charge?

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ShouldI obtain a criminalattorney regardinga “providing alcohol to underage” charge?

We were in the vehicle, with an open bottle of alcohol. A friend was driving, we got pulled over for flicking a cigarette out of the window, when the cop pulled us over and asked if there was anything in the car the driver told the cop there was an open bottle of alcohol. Everyone was pulled out of the car and searched. I got a charge for providing alcohol to underaged, and my friend got underaged possession of alcohol.  Am I facing jail time if I have a clean record? Should I get a lawyer? Am I facing jail time if I have a clean record?

Asked on October 26, 2010 under Criminal Law, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you should. Anytime criminal charges are involved it is always advisable to have legal representation.  A skilled criminal defense attorney might be able to get the charge dismissed on a technicality or at least get it reduced. Also, as "first-time offender", you may be able to apply for something known as "deferred adjudication" or "diversion" (or VA's equivalent).  If eligible, you will plead guilty to the charge, receive a special probation and, if successfully completed, the charge will be withdrawn and your case dismissed.  If you stay out of any other trouble your arrest record cleared ("expunged). 

An attorney in your area can more fully advise you as to all of this.  You should be aware that diversion is typically only once, so if your attorney can get the charge dropped and if you unfortunately ever find yourself in a similar situation, diversion would be available to you then.


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