I'm 17 years old and was caught trying to throw away a beer can in the parking lot of a concert venue. The officer asked me how old I was and I said 17 he asked if I had been drinking and I said not much. He took me to the police tent and wrote down my name address and phone number. I was never breathalyzed or given any physical ticket or citation, but I was told I would receive a court date in the mail and be charged with underage drinking. I know I need to get an attorney but I have no idea what is going to happen in terms of legal proceedings and I am very scared that I won't be able to get this taken off of my record. This is my first legal offense of any kind.
Criminal Defense Attorney
You are a juvenile and the charge is not particularly serious. With an attorney on your side you will be able to get this off your record. If this is your first offense, it is likely that you will be placed in a diversion program involving counseling and perhaps treatment, community service and a fine. Once you successful complete the diversion program, the charge will be dismissed and the record can be sealed. Five years later it can be expunged (destroyed). It is important that you get an attorney to help you get into a diversion program and get the charge dismissed. If this is not your first offense, it will be trickier, but an attorney should still be able to get an outcome that does not involve you having a permanent record.
You will be charged in a document you get in the mail. It will tell you when you are required to come to court. Go ahead and get a lawyer now, the sooner this is addressed the better. Don't kid yourself, if this is handled improperly, which is likely if you do not involve an attorney, things could be a lot worse than what I just described.
Answers provided by attorney Matt Williams to questions on Avvo DO NOT form an attorney client relationship. Mr. Williams is available to represent persons charged with crimes in Ohio for a fee. Only after Mr. Williams is retained, or agrees to discuss a matter privately, shall Mr. Williams be deemed your attorney. For more information regarding Mr. Williams, please visit www.mattwilliamsllc.com. Mr. Williams answers questions on Avvo only to provide general advice based upon the limited information in the question.
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Family Law Attorney
Mr. Williams' advice is absolutely sound. I just want to add that you shouldn't get caught up in whether you were given a breathalyzer or anything like that. The officer saw you with the beer can and you admitted drinking - that is more than enough to charge you.
However, if you get legal help now, this can go fairly smoothly for you. Also, having a knowledgeable attorney on your side makes the whole process a lot less confusing and frustrating.
This answer is provided for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship. Speak to an attorney in your area to protect your legal rights.