Alcohol Possession Underage Notice To Appear

A notice to appear is a criminal charge in Florida.  That is why the notice to appear has a court date and time on it.  A notice to appear is NOT a civil citation like a traffic ticket.  The notice to appear is the officer’s way of charging a person with a criminal offense without having to arrest the person and take them to jail.  Officers can issue a notice to appear for certain misdemeanor charges like possession of alcohol by a person under 21.  If you do not appear in court as required a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

At the first court appearance the person issued the notice to appear will be required to enter a plea to the possession of alcohol by a person under 21 charge.  The options are not quilty, guilty or nolo contendere(no contest).  If the person enters a plea of not guilty they will be given another court date and the judge will ask the person if they are hiring a lawyer or representing themselves.  If the person pleads guilty or no contest then the judge will impose a sentence.  Since this is a criminal charge a plea of guilty or no contest will remain on your record for the rest of your life.  Possession of alcohol by a person under 21 is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail, up to 6 months on probation and up to a $500 fine.  The judge can also include in the sentence alcohol counseling, alcohol testing, community service, cost of investigation, cost of prosecution and court cost.

Some people who are issued a notice to appear for possession of drug paraphernalia are eligible for a pretrial diversion program.  If they successfully complete the pretrial diversion program the State Attorney’s Office will drop the possession of alcohol by a person under 21 charge.

The mistakes the officer made in your case can mean the difference between a conviction and a dismissal.  Officers are trained to follow the law and to conduct investigations properly but everyone makes mistakes, including police officers.  Chris is a former prosecutor who has over 18 years experience defending people charged with possession of alcohol by a person under 21.  Possession of alcohol by a person under 21 charges can be beaten for many reasons.  The consultation is free so call 407-740-8300 or email Chris at chris@TheOrlandoDefenseLawyer.com to find out how Chris can help you.

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