17 year old daughter admitted to few drinks in Illinois and was given ticket for underage drinking with court date..police officer said no need for lawyer since will get community service and then will be off record. The clerk says not to worry since this is an ordinance violation. Is this less serious due to age and location?
Criminal Defense Attorney
Neither the police officer nor the clerk should be giving legal advice. If the arresting police officer told someone they arrested or cited that they have "no need for lawyer" and the police officer went of to state that the sentence or penalty would be "community service and then [it] will be [her] off record" that is of concern. A clerk in a Clerk of Court's office should also not be giving legal advice and most Clerk's offices have posted rules stating that and asking the public not to ask for legal opinions from staff. Your question states that the clerk told you "not to worry since this is an ordinance violation." Therefore one person has told you it is a criminal offense and another seems to have told you it is a civil infraction (violation of a local ordinance). This is why you should be getting your legal advice from a local, experienced, defense attorney.