Underage Drinking In Ohio
Underage alcohol consumption and/or possession is one of the most common criminal charges for young people in Ohio. Knowing that it’s common, however, does not help that young person facing legal consequences and a tarnished record. A good Columbus underage drinking lawyer who practices in central Ohio may help you avoid or reduce those consequences and protect your record.
Enforcement Of Ohio Under Age Drinking Laws
Law enforcement has little tolerance for underage drinking. If you are under 21 and get caught possessing or consuming alcohol in public, expect the law to be enforced, even on college campuses. For example, there is increased police presence and strict enforcement of underage drinking laws on the days of football games at The Ohio State University. Other universities have similar programs on their campuses which include prosecution for underage drinking offenses that occur in the homes of sororities and fraternities. An isolated incident due to a lapse in judgment can easily become a criminal case with significant consequences.
Charges For Under Age Drinking In Columbus And Central Ohio
Underage drinking is known by multiple labels in Ohio, including “underage alcohol consumption”, “underage alcohol possession”, “prohibition”, “underage intoxication”, “offense involving underage persons”, and “certain acts prohibited”. Ohio law generally prohibits people under age 21 from purchasing, possessing, or consuming alcohol. Ohio law also makes it illegal for underage persons to be under the influence of alcohol in a public place. Cities throughout Ohio also have similar laws prohibiting the purchase, possession and consumption of alcohol for people under 21. People charged with underage drinking offenses are sometimes also charged with additional offenses. For example if your behavior is alarming or annoying, you may be charged with Disorderly Conduct. If you gave false information, you may be charged with Falsification or Obstructing Official Business.
Penalties For Under Age Drinking Violations In Columbus And Central Ohio
Ohio law classifies underage drinking as a first degree misdemeanor. The potential sentence for an underage drinking conviction includes a potential jail term up to six months, a fine up to $1,000 plus court costs, alcohol counseling, community service, and probation. In addition, a conviction for underage drinking is a public criminal record which may affect a person’s education and employment opportunities.
Strategies For Ohio Under Age Drinking Charges
There are essentially two strategies for defending a client charged with underage drinking in Columbus and central Ohio, and we pursue both strategies. First, we investigate the availability of a diversion program. If a client is accepted into a diversion program and completes it successfully, the case is dismissed, and the records for the case can be sealed (expunged). Second, we obtain the evidence the prosecuting attorney intends to introduce, evaluate the strength of that evidence, and pursue potential defenses to the charge. If a diversion program is not an option, or if a client opts not to participate in a diversion program, we plead Not Guilty and defend against the underage drinking charge in the court process. The court process may include pretrial hearings, hearings on motions to suppress evidence, and a trial. In all cases, we seek the best possible outcome for underage drinking charges from both a legal perspective and a treatment perspective.
Representation For Under Age Drinking Cases In Columbus And Central Ohio
The Dominy Law Firm is focused on criminal defense. Since 1997, we have represented many clients, including several students, charged with underage drinking offenses in Franklin County, Delaware County, mayor’s courts, and other courts in the central Ohio area. In most cases, we are able to get the underage drinking charges dismissed or reduced, and we are often able to get the records for the case sealed (expunged). To see what clients say about the Dominy Law Firm, please see the client reviews page. Our firm charge flat fees for representation in underage drinking cases, so you will know the total fee before representation begins. If you would like to discuss how we can help with an underage drinking case, submit a CONTACT FORM or call us at 614-717-1177 to arrange for a free consultation.