Alcohol Possession Underage Notice To Appear
A notice to appear for alcohol possession underage 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 arraignment, 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 guilty, 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 alcohol possession underage are eligible for a pre-trial diversion program. If they successfully complete the pre-trial 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 20 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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