Underage drinking is a serious crime in Ohio. The state generally prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from possessing or consuming alcohol. If you are under the age of 21 and possess or consume alcohol, it is a first-degree misdemeanor offense. The maximum sentence is a $1,000 fine and six months in jail. Though this severe sentence is rarely imposed, the judge can use you as an example. Any of the three elements of possessing, consuming, or being intoxicated are sufficient to be arrested and charged with the offense. The best criminal defense attorney will be able to help.
On a first offense, a youth convicted of underage drinking may enter into a diversion program. Exceptions to underage drinking laws:
- the underage drinker is with parents / legal guardians and consent t alcohol consumption
- the underage drinker has a spouse of legal age
- there is a religious, educational, or medical purpose
Parents are prohibited from hosting drinking parties for underage drinkers. Parents cannot give alcohol to their teen’s friends under the age of 21, under any circumstance, even in the parent’s own home, and even with their parent’s permission. In addition, parents cannot knowingly allow a person under 21, other than their own child, to remain in their home or on their property while consuming or possessing alcohol. Parents violating this law face a $1,000 fine and up to 6 months in prison. Others can sue you if you give alcohol to anyone under 21 and they then hurt someone, hurt themselves, or cause damage to property. If you are convicted of an underage alcohol offense, it could remain on your criminal background for the rest of your life. No matter what the circumstances were in your case, you rightly or wrongly run the risk of being considered a person who has had an issue with alcohol.
The Bottom Line: To be charged with an underage alcohol offense, you must order, pay for or share the cost of, attempt to buy, possess, or drink beer or liquor in either a public or private place. If you or your child are charged with an alcohol-related offense call a criminal defense attorney right away. Scott Rubenstein works diligently and aggressively to protect the rights of his underage clients charged with alcohol-related offenses and works to ensure that the charges brought have the least possible impact on their lives and criminal record. 513.260.2099