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Underage automatically with an open container?

Millersville, PA |

I am 19 years old and was cited with underage drinking and an open container. I did not consume any alcohol and have witnesses over the age of 21 to verify. I simply did a favor and held an open container for one of those of age witnesses while he entered a gas station. I assume the responsibility of containing an open container but no tests were done to determine if I had actually consumed alcohol. I am leaving for the USMC soon and want to know if I have a case to dismiss the underage and also if it will affect my status of joining the Marines?

Attorney Answers 6

  1. It sounds like you have some good facts to work with. I would talk with an attorney who practices in the County where this occurred immediately. You will want to make sure you enter a plea of not guilty by signing the back of your summons/ticket and this way the Court will schedule a hearing for you. On the date of the hearing your attorney may be able to work something out with the officer prior to any hearing taking place. Talk with an attorney and make sure you understand all your options.

  2. I agree with Attorney Cooper; I think his response covers it nicely.

  3. Definitely get an attorney... Attorney should be able to help you...

  4. I'm sure once the court and police officer hears that you are entering the armed forces I'm sure you will be able to resolve the case. Good luck.

  5. Although you do have an explanation as to why you were holding the container, you did still technically "possess" the alcohol under the statute. So, while you could take it to a hearing, I think the preferred course of action would be to try to resolve the matter prior to the hearing by explaining the situation again to the officer and definitely present confirmation of your military commitment. Even if the charges cannot be dropped initially, many jurisdictions approve an alternative adjudication program, where you would complete an alcohol course and/or community service, for example, in exchange for dismissal or reduction of the charges. Be aware of the license suspension issues as well.

    This is a response to a general question and is not legal advice and does not constitute legal representation. You should contact an experienced DUI attorney in your area. Thanks.

  6. Retain a good lawyer to get the case dismissed to avoid a criminal record.

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