Should my sister get an attorney for an underage drinking violation?

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Should my sister get an attorney for an underage drinking violation?

My sister is 18. She has been on her own for about 3 weeks and got caught drinking. She is not getting charged for having alcohol in a vehicle, so her license will not be affected because of this. She has no prior criminal history. Having established this, what is the standard punishment for a first-time underage drinking violation in SD? Is an attorney necessary or should she go to court and accept a standard punishment? I mean, I’ve never heard of anyone getting jail time over this, so how much better of a deal could a DUI attorney get her? In Codington County, SD.

Asked on June 13, 2011 under Criminal Law, South Dakota

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, no,no.  PLEASE do not just let her go and take her lumps. An MIP - Minor in Possession - charge is very serious because although she is a minor for purposes of drinking, she is of legal age for purposes of having a permanent record on her hands.  And if convicted, she could face jail sentences, fines, diversion programs (supervised counseling, which often results in dropped charges if the minor participates successfully in the program), and sentences such as a number of hours of community service.  So please, get her an attorney as soon as you possibly can. She has hopefully learned her lesson. Those first few weeks of being 18 can yield mixed reactions but that false sense of adulthood has now, I am sure, been put in its place. Good luck.


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