What Would Happen if You Got Caught Underage Drinking?
27 December 2023IN: Criminal Law
We all did stupid things when we were young. Many of us experimented with alcohol and drugs. This is seen as part of the teenage experience, especially in college. Parties involving alcohol are common, and you can bet that not everyone is over the age of 21.
We might not have thought it was a big deal, but getting caught drinking when you’re not legal to do so can result in serious consequences. You must be at least 21 years old to legally drink alcohol in Tennessee and most other states. Even if you are 20 years and 11 months old, you could be arrested for underage drinking and face various penalties.
If you are arrested for underage drinking, make sure you have a criminal defense lawyer from The Law Office of David L. Scott on your side.
Penalties for Underage Drinking
In Tennessee, underage drinking is a class A misdemeanor. Because it is not a felony, many people see it as a minor crime. The truth is that you can still face strict penalties.
What happens depends on your age. If you are between the ages of 18 and 21, you will face adult charges and penalties. You will face up to a $2,500 fine and could be forced to pay other costs associated with your case. You may be ordered to perform community service. You could be placed on probation and even sentenced to jail. In Tennessee, the maximum jail sentence for underage drinking is just under one year, at 11 months and 29 days.
If you are under age 18 and caught drinking, you will likely go to juvenile court. If you are at least 16, the state can choose to charge you either as a juvenile or an adult. Tennessee law only allows teens younger than 16 to be charged as adults in the case of violent crimes. This matrix has information about the age of majority in each state when it comes to charging teens with crimes.
Tennessee has some of the nation’s strictest underage drinking laws. The only legal situations in which people under age 21 can possess or consume alcohol are:
- A person over the age of 18 or older can transport or sell alcohol as part of their job.
- A religious officiant may administer alcohol to youth as part of a religious ceremony.
In any other circumstances or setting, an underaged person cannot legally drink alcohol in Tennessee, even if a parent or guardian provides it and supervises them. Adults can face severe criminal charges for giving a minor alcohol, even if it is their own child in their own home.
Contact a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Police often turn a blind eye to underage drinking, but if there is a party or drunk driving involved, then it’s possible for there to be an arrest. You could face various penalties.
An arrest can be a scary experience, no matter your age. Get help from Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer from The Law Office of David L. Scott. We will work hard to protect your future and freedom. Schedule a consultation by calling (615) 896-7656 or filling out the online form.