FAQ - Underage Drinking In Columbus And Central Ohio

Q: Is the underage drinking law enforced on college campuses? A: Absolutely! While some people associate college with drinking alcohol, most universities actually have strict policies regarding underage drinking. Likewise, Ohio law prohibits alcohol consumption for people under the age of 21 without parental approval. Many individuals are prosecuted for underage drinking on campus in Columbus and central Ohio. This occurs not only in public places, but in private locations as well, including fraternity houses and sorority houses. Many colleges and universities, such as The Ohio State University, will increase police presence on football game days and during other significant campus events to increase enforcement of underage alcohol consumption/possession laws.

Q: What criminal charges are associated with underage drinking? A: In Ohio, it is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to purchase, possess, consume, or be under the influence of alcohol in a public place. Underage drinking offense may be labeled as one or more of the following charges:

  • Underage alcohol consumption
  • Underage alcohol possession
  • Underage intoxication
  • Prohibition
  • Offense involving underage persons
  • Certain acts prohibited

Q: What are the penalties for underage drinking? A: In Ohio, underage drinking is classified as a first degree misdemeanor. The sentence for individuals convicted of an underage drinking charge may include the following:

  • Up to six months in jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000, plus court costs
  • Probation for up to five years, which may include conditions such as alcohol counseling and community service

In addition to the legal penalties, a conviction can have other serious consequences. An underage drinking conviction becomes part of your permanent criminal record if not sealed/expunged. A criminal record may affect future educational and employment opportunities.

Q: How can I deal with an underage drinking charge? A: There are two primary strategies used to defend an underage drinking charge. The first is to apply for and complete a diversion program. If a client enters into and completes a diversion program, the case will be dismissed so there ultimately is no conviction. The entire case can then be sealed/expunged. The second is to present a defense to the charge through the court process, including hearings in front of the court, and if need be, a trial.

Q: Should I hire an attorney for an underage drinking case? A: It is often beneficial to hire a good criminal defense attorney for an underage drinking case. An attorney may be necessary to be screened for a diversion program. If diversion is not an option, a lawyer would be helpful to obtain the prosecution’s evidence, present a defense, and offer mitigation for any sentence. It is important that your lawyer has experience handling underage drinking offenses and regularly handles these types of cases.

Attorney For Underage Drinking Cases In Columbus And Central Ohio

Shawn Dominy is a criminal defense attorney in Columbus, Ohio, and he has been representing clients charged with underage drinking offenses since 1997. You can learn more about Shawn Dominy on his attorney profile. You may also want to see what clients say about the Dominy Law Firm. If you would like to arrange a free phone consultation with Shawn Dominy regarding your underage drinking charge in Columbus or central Ohio, please call 614-717-1177 or email the Dominy Law Firm.