Skip to main content

Can I get in trouble at a party with underage drinking if I am completely sober?

Reading, PA |

I am also underage. I want to know because I usually drive people back from the party and hang out in case someone wants to leave.

Would it clear me if I demanded a breath test when they arrive?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3

Posted

Frankly, it depends on any police that might come into contact with you at such a party. The police do not have to give you a breath test just because you demand one. If they believe that you were drinking they can file charges. Further, If an officer testifies that he believes that you were drinking a magistrate could find you guilty of the charge.

If you don't show any signs of having ingested alcohol, most officers would probably not cite you. However, as noted above there are no guarantees - by being present you potentially put yourself in danger.

Asker

Posted

How is that possible, if they do not have solid evidence of the crime, and have refused the sold test to prove I did not do it. Isn't that getting in the way of Justice?

Posted

The short answer: You can be charged if someone said you were drinking and you exhibit behavior that tends to support that. The long answer: Even though you were not drinking, I have seen cases where everyone gets cited for underage drinking, despite the absence of a breathalyzer test. In fact, there is a court case in Pennsylvania that states portable breath test results are not enough to convict for underage drinking or public intoxication and that a police officer must testify as to the nature and extent of the person's behavior in order to sustain a conviction. So consider this: You are nervous about getting cited or arrested and you stumble over your words as you speak to the police officer and then trip over the rug. Police officer will then testify you were "unsteady on your feet" and you "mumbled and stuttered" while he was speaking to you. That may be enough to sustain a conviction in front of some judges. The moral of the story is to stay away from such parties, especially once you turn 21 (which is a different issue altogether).

The answers I provide are not considered legal advice. Short questions in this forum do not allow for full and competent legal advice. I advise you get an attorney in any case where you have contact with the legal system.

Asker

Posted

I do not know if everyone can see my comments to other people. So I am asking everyone. How is that possible, if they do not have solid evidence of the crime, and have refused the sold test to prove I did not do it. Isn't that getting in the way of Justice?

Anthony Gil

Anthony Gil

Posted

Unfortunately, justice is not always served. While I believe the vast majority of judges, police officers, and others involved in the criminal justice system do not mean to harm, there is an inherent bias in the system that could lead to issues if you are merely in the area. The police officer may be under the mistaken belief that because you were there, you must have been drinking, even though you were not. Remember, "guilty by association" does not mean "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt", so if you do get into one of those situations, you have to be sure to fight it. The best advice is to speak to an attorney in private about any situation you may have. This forum, while informative, cannot fully inform you about what you should do if you're in one of these situations.

Posted

Answered by Michael Kotik lawyer in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

If your not drinking you should be okay. However, if the police officer is having a bad day, he might give you a citation just for being there. It has happened! If that happens just get a lawyer, assuming you did not drink anything and they have no proof besides your general demeanor, you should be okay.

Answers are not of fact, but rather the opinion of the attorney answering the questions asked. At no time does this answer create an attorney-client relationship. To the extent that these answers may become available to the general public there is no confidentiality as it pertains to this answer or question. The law changes frequently, and the material on this website is for general information purposes only and neither constitutes nor is intended to be legal advice. Prior to acting based upon this general information you SHOULD seek legal counsel regarding your specific legal matter. The outcome of every case is dependent on the specific facts and legal circumstances of each individual case. This website is not an offer to represent you, which can only be made after a consultation with one of the attorneys from Legalphilly.com/Michael Kotik, P.C. The Lawyer answering this question does not intend to practice in any other jurisdictions where it is not licensed. Attorney is Licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The firm does not seek to represent anyone viewing this website in other jurisdictions, and the website may not comply with the laws and ethical rules of states other than Pennsylvania and New Jersey. If you have any questions please contact my office at 215-564-1010. Law Office of Michael Kotik, P.C., | www.LegalPhilly.com | 1500 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Suite 220. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19102

Asker

Posted

I do not know if everyone can see my comments to other people. So I am asking everyone. How is that possible, if they do not have solid evidence of the crime, and have refused the sold test to prove I did not do it. Isn't that getting in the way of Justice?

Criminal defense topics

Recommended articles about Criminal defense

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer