Raleigh Underage Drinking Lawyer
Criminal Defense Law Firm in North Carolina
North Carolina prohibits the purchase, possession, or consumption of alcohol by minors. However, state law also criminalizes certain actions of adults that help provide alcohol for people under 21 years of age. These crimes are misdemeanor offenses, although the classification depends on the specific crime. If a minor or adult is convicted of one of these types of offenses,
If you or your child has been charged with an offense relating to underage possession, purchase, or consumption of alcohol, you can give yourself the best chance of obtaining a favorable outcome to your case by having legal representation. Clifford Law Group, PLLC provides aggressive legal defense for clients in these types of situations.
In addition to communities in Wake County, Durham County, and Orange County, our Wake County underage drinking attorneys also represent students at such area colleges as Duke University, North Carolina State University (NC State), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill).
We will review your case as soon as you call (919) 842-5461 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Underage Drinking Laws in North Carolina
North Carolina General Statute § 18B-302 lists several crimes relating to the sale of alcohol to or the purchase of alcohol by underage persons. Some of the offenses apply to minors, and others apply to adults.
The classification of purchase, possession, or consumption of alcohol by a minor depends on the age of the alleged offender and the type of alcohol they allegedly purchased, possessed, or consumed. Under North Carolina General Statute § 18B-302(b):
- Class 3 Misdemeanor -Alleged offender who is 19 or 20 years of age consumes any alcoholic beverage or purchases or possesses malt beverages or unfortified wine
- Class 1 Misdemeanor - Alleged offender who is 19 or 20 years of age purchases or possesses fortified wine, spirituous liquor, or mixed beverages, or alleged offender 18 years of age or younger purchases, possesses, or consumes any alcoholic beverage
North Carolina General Statute § 18B-302(e) also prohibits minors from entering or attempting to enter places where alcoholic beverages are sold or consumed, or obtaining or attempting to obtain alcoholic beverages, or obtaining or attempting to obtain permission to purchase alcoholic beverages by using or attempting to use any of the following forms of fake IDs:
- A fraudulent or altered driver's license
- A fraudulent or altered identification document other than a driver's license
- A driver's license issued to another person
- An identification document other than a driver's license issued to another person
- Any other form or means of identification that indicates or symbolizes that the person is not prohibited from purchasing or possessing alcoholic beverages under this section
Adults can face Class 1 misdemeanor charges for committing any of the following offenses:
- Selling malt beverages, unfortified wine, fortified wine, spirituous liquor, or mixed beverages to anyone less than 21 years old
- Giving malt beverages, unfortified wine, fortified wine, spirituous liquor, or mixed beverages to anyone less than 21 years old
- Aiding or abetting another person less than 21 years old in the sale, gift, purchase, possession, or consumption of alcohol by anyone less than 21 years old
- Permitting fraudulent use of identification
Penalties for Underage Drinking in Raleigh
A person who is convicted of or pleads guilty to any one of these offenses will face several immediate and long-term consequences. The court will file a conviction report with the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, often resulting in a one-year suspension of driving privilege. Additionally, the conviction will be reflected on the alleged offender's criminal record, possibly affecting later his or her employment or college applications later on.
Additional penalties will depend on the specific offense, the age of the alleged offender, and the alleged offender's prior criminal record. For example, North Carolina General Statute § 18B-302.1 establishes the following fines:
- Minimum $250 fine and at least 25 hours of community service for alleged offenders convicted of first offense of selling or giving malt beverages, unfortified wine, fortified wine, spirituous liquor, or mixed beverages to anyone less than 21 years old. A second or subsequent offense will result in a minimum $500 fine and at least 150 hours of community service.
- Minimum $500 fine and at least 25 hours of community service for alleged offenders convicted of aiding or abetting another person less than 21 years old in the sale, gift, purchase, possession, or consumption of alcohol by anyone less than 21 years old. A second or subsequent offense will result in a minimum $1,000 fine and at least 150 hours of community service.
First offenses for most minors will result in judges imposing community punishments that typically involve paying fines and completing between 10 and 45 days of unsupervised probation. However, alleged offenders who have previously been convicted of alcohol-related offenses or other crimes may face possible terms of incarceration.
North Carolina Underage Drinking Exceptions
State law does provide three notable exceptions to alcohol laws. Minors are permitted to possess or consume alcohol in the following instances:
- North Carolina General Statute § 18B-103(8) - Possession and use of unfortified wine or fortified wine for sacramental purpose by any organized church or ordained minister, including in public school buildings when the use of those buildings is approved by the local school board
- North Carolina General Statute § 18B-103(11) - Under the direct supervision of an instructor during a culinary class that is part of an established culinary curriculum at an accredited college or university, the delivery to or possession or consumption by a student who is less than 21 years of age, when the student is required to taste or imbibe the alcoholic beverage during a culinary class conducted pursuant to the curriculum
- North Carolina General Statute § 18B-302(h) - Selling, transporting, possessing, or dispensing alcoholic beverages by an underage person in the course of employment, if the employment of the person for that purpose is lawful under applicable youth employment statutes and Commission rules
Find an Underage Drinking Lawyer in Raleigh
Have you or your child been charged with violating state law concerning alcohol and minors? Working with experienced legal counsel can help you possibly get criminal charges reduced or completely dismissed. Clifford Law Group represents students at many institutions of higher learning in the greater Raleigh area, but we also help teenagers in such communities as Apex, Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Hillsborough, and Wake Forest.
Call (919) 842-5461 right now to let our Wake County underage drinking attorneys review your case during a free consultation.
If you are facing a complex legal matter, it is vital that you retain the immediate representation of Clifford Law Group. The right attorney may make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Make the smart choice – enlist the supportive assistance of our Raleigh natives today.