It sounds like the Trooper cut you a huge break. Being found with less than one ounce of marijuana, although not criminal, is illegal and a civil infraction where you could be fined $100.00. Additionally, since you are under the age of 21 and transporting beer, the officer could have arrested you as a minor transporting alcohol, as well as charging you with violating the open container law, not to mention accusing you of drunk driving. Since you are under the age of 21, you would face enhanced penalties for an OUI charge. The sobriety standard for a minor is different than that for adults. The Commonwealth would only have to prove you had a blood alcohol content of .02 (not .08 for individuals who obtained the legal drinking age). You could be .02 after drinking a single beer. Because you were not charged for these offenses when you received the speeding citation, it is unlikely you will be charged now if you contest the citation. If you have a clean driving record, a Magistrate may give you the benefit of the doubt, even if he believes that you were speeding, and find you not responsible, (hoping you learned your lesson). A good attorney could help you under these circumstances. I would contact a Criminal Defense Attorney to evaluate your case and possibly represent you at the Magistrate’s Hearing if that is how you want to proceed.
Attorney Steven J. Topazio
10 Winthrop Square, Suite 4100
Boston, MA 02110
Any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need additional information, call Attorney Topazio directly at 617-422-4803 regarding your specific concern.
You are very lucky to have received this break and Attorney Topazio gave you a very thorough answer. The officer could also testify at the hearing if you contest the ticket, and the clerk-magistrate could allow a complaint to issue for the criminal charge of minor in possession at that time. It would likely eventually be disposed of, since it carries only a $50 fine as a penalty for a first offense, but it would create a criminal record. I just want you to know the risks.
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I would only note that the 0.02% BAC is the threshold for a person under 21 to fail the breathalyzer (and lose his license as a result of a breathalyzer failure). The BAC level to prove an OUI itself under the per se portion of the statute, (which is separate from any license loss associated with failing the breathalyzer) is still 0.08%, regardless of age.
You did get a HUGE break from the trooper. You really should be facing an OUI charge, and open containing charge, a minor in possession of alcohol charge, and a civil citation for marijuana possession.
Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only and it is not intended as legal advice. Additionally, this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you wish to obtain legal advice specific to your case, please consult with a local attorney.
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