At Marin and Barrett, Inc., our experienced team of Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorneys have defended hundreds of young adults charged by local Rhode Island Police Departments with being a minor in possession of alcohol. Oftentimes, these cases are instituted and prosecuted as part of a public campaign against underage drinking and a crackdown on local bars that allow underage individuals to enter without proper (or with fake) identification. As experienced defense attorneys, we often see these charges bought in the beginning of the college year, typically in September or October when students are just returning to school. We have had years of success representing young adults facing these charges and our effective and proven criminal defense strategies have helped many of our clients avoid a criminal convictions, license suspensions, and negative consequences that would have followed them for years.
Rhode Island Minor in Possession of Alcohol Lawyers
Attorneys Matthew Marin, Kensley Barrett, and Nicholas Parrillo
Available 24/7 at 401-228-8271
We have significant experience representing clients facing students and young adults facing minor in possession of an alcoholic beverage charges throughout the State of Rhode Island. Our criminal defense strategies have a proven track record of success. Let us put them to work for you.
What is the charge of minor in possession of alcohol?
In Rhode Island, it is unlawful for any person who has not reached his or her 21st birthday to have in his or her possession any beverage that is defined by law to be alcoholic. Also by Rhode Island law, a "beverage" means any liquid that either by itself or by mixture with any other liquid or liquids contains five tenths of one per cent (.5%) or more of alcohol by weight. There are no exceptions for when or where a minor is possession the beverage or who authorized it.
What are some common ways that young adults end up getting charged with minor in possession of alcohol?
Every year we seem to see the same trends play out. Once students return to college in the fall, the local police departments carry out undercover raids of local college bars and restaurants to "round up" unsuspecting college students who are frequenting these establishments and make an example out of them. Other times, the sting occurs at a local liquor store to target students purchasing alcohol and liquor using fake id's. The raids are typically then publicized to discourage underage drinking in the college community and inevitably dozens of upstanding and bright students are left with a court date and the fear of a criminal conviction ruining their education and their job prospects.
Is minor in possession of alcohol a criminal charge in Rhode Island?
Unfortunately, yes. Possession of alcohol by a minor in Rhode Island is a misdemeanor criminal offense. If convicted, it does not carry a potential jail sentence however it can result in a criminal conviction on your permanent criminal record.
Are there defenses to the charge of minor in possession of an alcoholic beverage?
Yes, there are a number of potential defenses to any criminal charge for minor in possession of an alcoholic beverage. Because this is a criminal offense, the prosecution is required to prove the case against you by the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. We have often raised issues involving the following constitutional challenges to these cases:
- Reasonable suspicion to stop an individual and ask for identification
- Probable cause to arrest an individual
- Proof and evidence that the beverage possessed was alcoholic
Oftentimes, raising these issues with an experienced prosecutor in the context of a pre-trial conference and negotiation can lead to very favorable results in terms of the ultimate outcome of the case.
What are the penalties for a minor in possession of alcohol charge in Rhode Island?
If you are charged with possession of beverage by underage person (also know as minor in possession of alcohol), you are facing stiff penalties even it if is your first offense and you have never been in trouble before. Some young adults go it along and learn that hard way. If you are charged with possession of alcohol by an underage person, you are facing a fine of between $150 to $750 for a first offense and a fine of $300 to $750 for a second offense. Additionally, anyone convicted under Rhode Island General Laws 3-8-10 is required to perform thirty (30) hours of public, non-profit community service and is also required to suffer a minimum license suspension of 60 days. For a second offense, the Court can order the young adult to undergo a substance abuse assessment as part of the criminal punishment.
What is the criminal statute for minor in possession of alcohol in R.I.?
The Rhode Island minor in possession of alcohol statute is contained in the General Laws 3-8-10.
Can minor in possession of alcohol charges be dismissed?
Yes, but like many legal questions, it depends on the facts of the case. When we represent clients charged with underage alcohol possession we use our proven negotiation strategies and techniques to achieve the best result for the client with the goal in every case to see the charges dismissed or the Client found not guility.
Can minor in possession of alcohol charges be expunged from my record?
Yes, absolutely! Expungement of these charges from a young adult's criminal record is one of the most important services we can offer in these types of cases. If we are able to secure a dismissal of the charges against you, we can begin working immediately to have the case expunged from your criminal record, the court records, and the police department records. Once it has been expunged, you are legally entitled to say "it never happened."
Do I need a lawyer for minor in possession of alcohol?
No, you don't "need" a lawyer for any criminal case. The United States Constitution allows individuals the ability to represent themselves in criminal proceedings, no matter how serious. But, just because the Constitution allows an individual to be self-represented does not mean that this is the best course of action. We strongly advise any individual, charged with any criminal offense, to seek the legal assistance and representation of skilled local criminal defense attorneys to act as a guide and an advocate through the legal system.
Why should I hire a Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer for minor in possession of alcohol charges?
Each year, we typically end up representing a substantial number of innocent college students who are caught up in the public relations raids and stings. Our Client's are unsuspecting and upstanding college students who are left with a Court date and nowhere to turn for assistance.
We have been there before and know the ropes. Let us put our experience and skills to work for you; don't go it alone. It's not worth risking a tarnished criminal record for simply being in possession of an alcoholic beverage before your 21st birthday. If you or a loved one has been charged with minor in possession of alcohol, call us today and put one of our experienced attorneys to work fighting your case. We are available 24/7 at 401-228-8271 to take your call and begin mapping out your best defense strategy.