My Child's Been Charged With Underage Drinking. What Should I Do?

Daren Brown
By Daren Brown | August 9, 2019

drinking and drivingDrinking underage is a misdemeanor. Chargeable actions include:

  • Buying, possessing, or drinking alcoholic beverages when you are under the age of 21, even on private property.

  • Buying alcohol for or supplying alcohol to minors.

  • Using a fake I.D. to purchase alcohol.

This is not to be confused with the "open container law," which refers to the unlawful consumption of alcohol on public property. Even an adult who is of legal drinking age can be cited for that offense.

As a parent, it can be difficult to know how to effectively react or respond in a situation like this. Emotions are running high, you're not sure what to believe, and you have a limited time to act in your child's best interest.



Remember These 3 Steps

1. If your child calls from jail or gets a message to you through a friend, try to remind them not to resist, to stay calm, and to avoid any further incriminating or inflammatory behavior. Defensive responses can make any necessary court appearances that much harder.

2. Don't over-react; get the whole story. The average underage drinking arrest lasts four hours, but it can also mean spending upwards of 14 hours in jail. Some parents allow the latter to occur on purpose to teach their child a lesson. Of course, it does depend on the circumstances, but tread lightly when making this decision, especially if this is a first offense. There may be extenuating circumstances to think about.

3. Call an attorney. You may not be able to get access to the full story, but an attorney can. They can also protect your child's rights and act in their best interest. This is vital both during their time in custody and when they are arraigned.

It's not uncommon for people to believe they are entitled to a false scope of protection under the law. An attorney can help clear up the confusion and establish what the true merits of your case are.

For instance:

  • Police officers aren't legally required to identify themselves on-premises. If they are in uniform, an assumption of identity can be made. If they are undercover, they should not be expected to compromise anyone's safety, including their own. However, you should always ask for identification and verify it before entering a squad car.

  • They can enter without a warrant if it's an open house party,  they suspect someone is in danger, or see evidence of a crime being committed.

  • Record expungement may be possible.

Take all reasonable and sensible precautions if arrested. Contact Jarrett Johnston at Stockard, Johnston, Brown & Netardus, P.C. in Amarillo, for legal counsel.

Contact an Attorney

Topics: Criminal