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Which "minor in possession" statue will be used to sentence for alcohol?

Tuscaloosa, AL |

One statue says $20-$100 and the other one says $50-$500.

Attorney Answers 1


It all depends entirely on the charging instrument. If charged under 28-1-5, that section of the Code states: "Whoever violates this section shall be fined not less than $25.00 nor more than $100.00, or imprisoned in the county jail for not more than 30 days or both; provided further, that juvenile offenders shall not be held in the county jail, but shall be held, either before or after sentencing, in a juvenile detention facility pursuant to the guidelines of the Department of Youth Services, which shall be separate and apart from adult offenders." [Note no additional sanctions are imposed.]

More likely, however, the arresting officer charged the minor under 28-3A-25 (21) which states: [It shall be an unlawful act]... "(21) For a person under the age of 21 years to knowingly use or attempt to use a false, forged, deceptive, or otherwise nongenuine driver's license to obtain or attempt to obtain alcoholic beverages within this state."

That penalty is set forth in sub-section (b)(2) which states: "(2) Any violation of any provision of subdivisions (18), (19), (20), and (21) of subsection (a) shall be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500), to which, at the discretion of the court or judge trying the case, may be added imprisonment in the county jail or at hard labor for the county for not more than three months." In addition, under sub-section (c), the court having jurisdiction over the case shall enter an Order requiring the Department of Public Safety to suspend the driver license or driving privilege of such person for a period of not less than 3 months and not more than 6 months.

If charged under 28-3A-25, the usual or customary fine is $50 plus court costs, but more importantly, the individual convicted or adjudicated under that section will suffer a mandatory driver license suspension for a period of 90 days.

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Patrick Mahaney

Patrick Mahaney


I should have added sub-section (18) which states: "(18) For any person under the legal drinking age, as defined in Section 28-1-5, to attempt to purchase, to purchase, consume, possess, or to transport any alcoholic beverages within the state;..."

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