Columbia Minor in Possession of Alcohol Lawyer

In Columbia, the law prohibits minors from purchasing (or attempting to purchase), consuming, or possessing alcohol. Likewise, minors may not knowingly use false information – such as a fake ID – to purchase alcohol in Columbia. However, the law does provide for some limited exceptions to these rules.

If your son or daughter is facing an underage alcohol possession charge, an experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to help. A Columbia minor in possession of alcohol lawyer can raise an exception or defense on your child’s behalf and help them obtain the best possible outcome in their case.

Exceptions to the General Rules

Although minors may not possess or consume alcohol in the majority of cases, there are several exceptions to that general rule. Those exceptions include the following:

  • Employment exception – Minors who are 18 years of age or older are allowed to serve alcoholic beverages in restaurants and other establishments that hold a valid liquor license to sell alcohol. This is true so long as they are working within the scope of their employment. Minors may not work as bartenders at such an establishment or mix drinks containing alcohol.
  • Culinary education program – A minor who is 18 years of age or older may taste alcohol (but not consume the alcohol) when a designated culinary arts instructor (who is an adult) is supervising. The tasting must occur as part of an accredited and licensed culinary arts program. Finally, the alcohol must remain under the instructor’s control at all times.
  • Religious exception – Minors are allowed to possess, taste, and consume alcoholic beverages when the consumption occurs as part of a religious ceremony. This exception applies so long as an adult purchases the alcoholic beverage in question.
  • Compliance checks – In some cases, law enforcement agencies recruit minors to test an establishment or individual’s compliance with the applicable Columbia minor-in-possession laws. In these instances, minors may receive alcohol, but they may not consume it.

Potential Fines and Jail Time

Minors who sustain a guilty finding or conviction for underage alcohol possession can face serious penalties and consequences. If the minor illegally purchases, possesses, or consumes alcohol, they can incur a criminal fine ranging from $100 to $200 and/or a maximum of 30 days’ incarceration. Convicted minors must also complete an eight-hour alcohol prevention education program AKA Alcohol Education Program (AEP).

A minor who misrepresents their age in order to acquire alcohol will receive a monetary fine ranging from $100 to $200 and/or a jail sentence of up to 30 days.

The decision about a particular fine or penalty rests with the judge who presides over the sentencing hearing in open court.

Talk to a Columbia Minor in Possession of Alcohol Attorney

A minor in possession of alcohol is no joking matter, and a conviction can land a young person in serious hot water. If your son or daughter is facing underage alcohol possession charges, they need legal representation as soon as possible to protect their rights.

A Columbia minor in possession of alcohol lawyer could help individuals accused of underage possession by fully explaining the charge, potential penalties, and legal options to you and your child in plain English and can represent them in the courtroom during all legal proceedings.