Making mistakes is part of growing up, but mistakes involving charges for underage alcohol consumption or driving under the influence can have serious consequences. A conviction can leave you with a criminal record that can affect your ability to get into college or grad school, as well as prevent you from pursuing certain types of employment opportunities. Arizona also has no expungement process, so the stigma of alcohol-related convictions can follow you around well into adulthood.
What the Law Says About Underage Drinking in Arizona
Arizona law makes it illegal for people under the legal drinking age to buy, receive, possess, or consume alcohol. People under 21 can be in a bar if they are accompanied by a parent, spouse, or legal guardian who is 21 or older, but they aren’t allowed to purchase or consume alcohol.
A minor in possession charge occurs when a person has alcohol but does not have a positive breathalyzer test. A minor in consumption charge occurs when the person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is anything above 0.0%. A conviction for either offense is a misdemeanor with a maximum jail term of 180 days, a fine of up to $2,500, and up to three years of probation. However, the most likely outcome for a first-time offender with a skilled attorney is one-year probation, community service, and completion of alcohol education classes.
Arizona has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drunk driving. If you are under 21 and your BAC is anything above 0.0%, you will be charged with an underage DUI. A first-time misdemeanor offense carries a minimum jail sentence of 24 hours, with a possibility of up to 10 days in jail. There is also a $1,600 fine and a license suspension of 90-360 days. You may also be charged with additional alcohol-related offenses such as minor in consumption and possession of false identification.
Skilled Legal Representation Is Key
Whenever you’re charged with a crime, you need access to skilled legal representation from the area where the offense occurred. Local lawyers have connections that can prove invaluable in getting your charges reduced or dismissed.
It’s best if you bring in a lawyer right away, but you can hire a lawyer at any point in your case or switch to a new firm if you’re unsatisfied with your current representation.
Bruce S. Griffen and Ryan J. Stevens defend countless misdemeanor cases year-round. Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC aggressively defends misdemeanors all across Northern Arizona, including Flagstaff Municipal Court, Flagstaff Justice Court, Williams Justice Court, Page Magistrate Court, Page Municipal Court, and all courts in Sedona, Cottonwood, Camp Verde, Prescott, Holbrook, Seligman, Kingman, Winslow, and more.
Contact us today to request a free consultation.