Is Your Teen Charged With Underage Drinking?
I can’t even begin to tell you how many phone calls we get from concerned parents in Wake County because their teenage son or daughter picked up an underage drinking ticket while attending a concert or tailgating at a football game. As a parent, there are many questions going through their minds, “Will this charge keep my child from being accepted into college?”, “Can it be dismissed?”, “If they are convicted, will it be on their record forever?” All of these are valid questions. North Carolina parents recognize the importance of a clean criminal record and don’t want their children to be haunted by an underage drinking charge for the rest of their lives.
Luckily, if this is the first charge of underage possession of alcohol for your teenager, they will have the opportunity to earn a dismissal of this charge. You will often hear this opportunity referred to as a deferral.
To be eligible for this deferral, a Defendant must have one of the following pending charges: misdemeanor possession of alcohol under the age of 21, possession of false identification, aiding and abetting underage possession of alcohol or selling alcohol or tobacco to minors. In addition, a Defendant must be at least 16 years of age; they can’t have any previous criminal convictions either as a juvenile or an adult; and they can never have participated in any deferral programs.
If your teenager is eligible for the deferral, the prosecution of their case will be deferred by agreement between the defendant and the prosecutor, upon a judge’s approval, for six months.
Having an Underage Drinking Charge Removed
During the six-month period, the defendant must satisfy the following requirements in order to successfully complete the deferral:
- Defendant must admit guilt
- Defendant must successfully complete alcohol education classes conducted by SouthLight or any recommended treatment requirement
- Defendant must pay a $250 program fee, which will be their ticket into the classes, as well as the cost of court to the Wake County Clerk of Court
- Defendant must not be convicted of any misdemeanor or felony offense during the period of this deferral
- Defendant must resolve any new pending charges before the case can be successfully terminate from the program
- Defendant must remain in school or be gainfully employed
- Defendant must submit to an observed urinalysis for the detection of controlled substances upon request, and pay for any such test
- Defendant must abide by reasonable requests made by Judicial Specialist
- Defendant must comply with any other special conditions included during this deferral
At the end of the six-month period, if all conditions have been met and the defendant has not been convicted of any other criminal charges, the alcohol charge will be dismissed. Once the charge has been dismissed and entered, it will be eligible for expungement. However, if the defendant does not comply with the terms of the deferral, judgment of guilt will be entered and a sentence imposed. This conviction may or may not be eligible for expungement in the future.
*UPDATE: Recent changes to the NC expungement law will take effect December 1, 2017. Find out how these changes could affect your criminal charges to see if you will qualify for an expungement.*
Underage Drinking Ticket in Raleigh, NC
If your teenage son or daughter has been charged with an underage alcohol charge in North Carolina contact the attorneys of Kirk, Kirk, Howell, Cutler & Thomas, L.L.P. in Raleigh to discuss your case. Call 919-615-2473 or Request a case review today!
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