My son (14) was at a large party of teenagers that was drinking and the police were called in. He was not found to be in possession of alcohol nor did he have odor of alcohol on his breath. No Breathalyzer was performed nor was a field sobriety test performed. I was informed via phone call 2 weeks later, that they were going to mail us a citation for underage drinking, based on 'slurred speech, and glassy eyes'.
Criminal Defense Attorney
You need to hire a good attorney. Look on Avvo.com Find A Lawyer. What was your 14 yr. old doing at a large party of teenagers that were drinking? I would be addressing that first.
You still need to hire an attorney. Check out the Find a Lawyer source here on Avvo. Even with the limited evidence, you can't represent yourself on something that could impact your future like this.
The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not considered to be legal advice. Mr. Leroi answers questions on Avvo because he strongly believes in public service from his years as a judge, magistrate, and prosecutor. If you need to ask any follow up questions because my answer did not fully address your question, feel free to call Chris or post an additional question. Thank you.
Criminal Defense Attorney
Your son is facing a criminal record and a license suspension so it is important that you retain a criminal defense attorney to represent him. Good luck.
You have presented a number of facts that have appropriately caused you to question the basis for the police charging your son with an underage drinking offense. However, you should not post any more facts in the forum, as it is not a confidential setting. Instead, you should consult with an experienced Harrisburg Criminal Defense Attorney.
As one of my colleagues suggested, underage drinking penalties are real and include, but are not limited to, a fine and license suspension. Additionally, under Pennsylvania law, underage drinking is a "recidivist offense," which means the penalties increase with each future conviction for this offense -- fines get bigger and license suspension gets longer. Given your son's age, this is a relevant concern.
Finally, it is also important to understand that "underage drinking" is not the legal term for this offense. This is important to understand because "underage drinking" suggests that a person can only be found guilty if there is evidence that the minor (under 21) was drinking alcohol. However, the legal definition of the offense actually includes "purchase, consumption, POSSESSION, and transportation" of alcohol. Thus, in a setting like you have described, police often attempt to prove possession of alcohol based upon the relationship between the location of the booze and the accused (your son).
I hope this helps provide you a broader understanding of what you and your son are up against. This is not a journey you should make on your own. Rather, you should immediately contact a Dauphin County Underage Drinking Defense Attorney for a free phone consultation
The information provided herein neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor should it be used or relied upon to make any decision in your case. Communications made in open forums are neither made in a confidential setting nor protected by the attorney-client privilege. You should consult directly with an attorney to obtain a full evaluation of your case.