In Alabama, a person must be 21 to be in possession of alcohol. Even though the age of majority is noted as 19 by law, it simply doesn’t apply to minors when alcohol’s concerned. If your child is accused of being in possession of alcohol, you’ll need to decide on a strong defense to prevent him or her from being convicted. Here are three defense tips that might apply to your case.
The minor was with a guardian
It’s easy to claim that a minor has alcohol in his or her possession. For example, if you were 18 and carrying alcohol out to your vehicle, then you could be charged with a crime. The fact is that if a guardian over the age of 21 is with the minor at the time, this is not a criminal situation. Parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents and other older people have the right to purchase alcohol and transport it in their vehicles while it’s closed. If a minor helps carry it to the car or to the house to be helpful, that in itself isn’t a good enough reason to charge the minor with a crime. It’s important to note that the alcoholic beverage should not be open when the minor has it in possession for the trip to and from the vehicle.
There was no alcohol in the container
There are some times when a beverage may look alcoholic and isn’t. For example, if you’ve ever purchased soda in a glass bottle, you know that some have a similar appearance to a glass-bottled beer. A police officer who pulls over a minor for a traffic offense might see this and assume it’s alcoholic, but if it’s only a soft drink or other kind of beverage, then no charges should be placed. It’s up to the defendant to show that there was no alcohol in the container, so remember to take photos or keep information about the drinks that were in the vehicle or being carried at the time of an arrest.
The alcohol was part of a religious ceremony
One time when minors can get away with being in possession of alcohol is during a religious service. For instance, if a minor is stopped when driving home and given a breathalyzer test, the officer may say that the minor had been in possession of alcohol due to a positive test result. While the charge might be placed, the minor’s family, church pastor or others who witnessed the religious ceremony can speak in defense of the minor in court. In most cases, this is a solid defense that can result in the case being dismissed, but that also depends on the service and what happened to cause the traffic stop.
These are just a couple ideas for how to defend a minor who was found to be in possession of alcohol. A legal professional has more information on the particular laws in your area, so you can create the best defense for your child.