With the fall semester beginning, I wanted to answer a question that I am frequently asked by college students and/or their parents. As is often the case, local police departments will conduct frequent random ‘sting' operations in an attempt to cut down on underage drinking and to make sure that local bars and restaurants are not serving underage patrons.
Quite frequently, young college students can get caught in this net and may face a host of different charges. Most frequently, we represent college students charged with an offense termed “Possession of Beverage by Underage Person” or, as it is commonly referred as, minor in possession of alcohol. Rhode Island Law (Section 3-8-10) prohibits anyone who has not reached his or her 21st birthday from possession an alcoholic beverage.
With respect to this particular offense, the question we are asked the most is whether it is “worth it” to hire a lawyer to handle the case. Worth is a relative term. Some may think it is worth it to hire a lawyer but others may disagree. In my opinion, it is worth it just to have the piece of mind to know that your son or daughter will not be heading into a criminal court system alone and unaware.
Beyond granting piece of mind, if your son or daughter is in college in Rhode Island then you have undoubtedly invested tens of thousands of dollars in tuition, thousands of hours preparing them to succeed in school, and you may very well be co-signed on their student loans. These investments mean that it is vital that your son or daughter leave their college experience as a marketable young employee. The last thing that you want to see happen is for their career path to be altered or hindered by one poor decision.
If you were to hire us, or any other experienced local criminal defense attorney, you can be sure that your son or daughter's case will be handled with care and an attentive eye to detail. Most of the time, the Police and even the Judge may try to coerce a guilty plea to “get it over” and “by just paying the fine.”
Unfortunately, this advice may lead to potential long-term negative consequences. Instead of paying the fine and admitting guilt, in most cases we are able to negotiate a more favorable resolution with the lawyer handling the case for the City or Town. In addition to favorably resolving the case, we can ensure that records related to the case are properly sealed and expunged. This sealing and expungement removes all reference of the case in the Court and Judiciary system and the Police records and files.
If you or a loved one has been charged with possession of alcohol by a minor in Rhode Island contact us for no nonsense advice and experienced legal representation. We are available 24/7 at 401-228-8271 or via email at [email protected].