Consequences of Underage Drinking in Tennessee
01 August 2023IN: Criminal Law
If you get caught drinking alcohol when you are younger than 21, you could get charged with a class A misdemeanor, which could result in fines, community service, and even jail time.
Getting drunk when you are a teenager or young adult, but the legal drinking age in Tennessee has been 21 for many years. Think back to the keg parties you attended in college. Everyone except the seniors was too young to consume alcohol legally, and yet everyone gleefully broke the law, and no one seemed to fear criminal prosecution. Underage drinking is such a common occurrence that only a small percentage of the people who have done it have ever faced criminal charges for it. Despite this, if the police catch you drinking alcohol when you are younger than 21, being charged with and convicted of underage drinking is a possibility. If, of all the college parties going on that night, yours was the one where the police decided to show up, contact a Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer for college students.
Tennessee Underage Drinking Laws
In Tennessee, as in many other states, the minimum age for legal consumption or purchase of alcoholic beverages is 21. If police catch you drinking alcohol, even if you are 20 years and 11 months old and you attend college, hold a job, or both, you can be charged with underage drinking. Consumption of alcohol by a person under age 21 is a class A misdemeanor. Therefore, the maximum possible penalty is a $2,500 fine in addition to other costs associated with your criminal case. The court could also order you to perform community service or place you on probation if you are convicted of underage drinking. The judge could even sentence you to jail; the maximum jail sentence for underage drinking in Tennessee is 11 months and 29 days, which is one day less than one year.
If you get caught drinking alcohol, and you are under 18, your case will probably go to juvenile court. If you are at least 16, though, the state has the option to charge you either as a juvenile or an adult. If you are younger than 16, you cannot be charged as an adult for underage drinking. Tennessee law only allows the charging of teens younger than 16 as adults in the case of violent crimes.
Attending a Party is Not a Crime
Sometimes charges of underage drinking arise when police break up a party and start arresting everyone they see. This does not automatically mean a guilty verdict; you are innocent until proven guilty. If you get arrested for underage drinking, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer promptly. If there is no evidence that you were drinking, you might be able to get your charges dropped.
Contact David L. Scott About Underage Drinking Cases
A criminal defense attorney can help you if you are being accused of underage drinking. Contact David L. Scott in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, or call (615)896-7656 to set up a consultation.