Underage Drinking Violations

Underage Drinking Charges- Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham

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Raleigh and Chapel Hill NC Possession of Alcohol by a Minor Attorneys

College is a great time to have fun and meet new people. However, underage drinking violations can turn a small mistake into a criminal charge that stays on your record for a lifetime.

At the Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, we have experience defending college students and underage drinkers. Attorney Wiley Nickel is a former prosecutor with solid experience handling criminal defense cases, including underage drinking cases.

If you have been charged with an underage drinking violation or resisting arrest, don't put your future in jeopardy.  Contact a Raleigh, Chapel Hill or Durham underage drinking defense attorney for a free consultation to discuss your options.

Experienced Local Attorneys

We are centrally located for all RTP area colleges in Cary, NC just off of I-10 by the SAS.  We have in-depth knowledge of the local legal community and serve clients from local schools such as:

  • University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill
  • North Carolina State University (NC State)
  • Duke University
  • North Carolina Central University
  • Meredith College
  • Shaw University

Types of Underage Drinking Charges

If you are arrested on campus for an underage drinking violation, you can get in trouble, not only with the police, but also with your school. We can defend you on all fronts from all types of drinking violations, including:

  • Consumption of alcohol
  • Possession of alcohol
  • Fake ID
  • Aiding and abetting an underage drinker by purchasing liquor on their behalf
  • Driving after consuming alcohol
  • Underage DWI
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Here’s a situation we see a lot.An officer who works for the ALE/Alcohol Law Enforcement Agency (North Carolina Department of Public Safety) sees a young looking person walking out of a grocery store with a case of beer. What can that officer do to investigate what he suspects is an underage purchase of alcohol?What are your rights when confronted by a police officer demanding that you produce ID?

If the young looking college student looks close to 21 in age then he/she cannot be arrested unless it’s obvious that the buy is around 10 years old.Usually in these situations the person’s age is debatable – as a college student 18 year olds can look 22 and 22 year olds can look 18. The officer may suspect you are under 21 but that alone does not give the officer probable cause to arrest - based solely on how old someone may or may not look.

Generally the officer will conduct a consensual stop and ask the suspect whether he or she is old enough to purchase alcohol.The officer can also ask for identification.The officer can ask these questions outside of the store but as in all cases an individual is NOT required to produce ID on demand (assuming you’re not driving your car at the time – the rules are much different when you’re behind the wheel) nor is an individual required to answer police questions.Of course there is a good way and a bad way to refuse to answer questions – the good way involves being very respectful to the officer and politely refusing to answer questions.You can probably guess about the bad way – it involves rude behavior and usually leads to other police charges.

If you (1) do not produce ID and (2) do not answer questions then an officer cannot just arrest you because (1) you look young and (2) because you refused to answer questions or to produce identification.If an officer approaches you outside of a store you are not required to produce identification on demand.

North Carolina has no stop-and-identify statute on the books, and Supreme Court decisions have not created a free-standing requirement that detained persons identify themselves. So although the officer may be able to detain a beer buyer for a few minutes while attempting to verify his or her age — if the officer can’t make any progress within a reasonable time, the officer generally must let the young looking beer buyer go.

Having said all of this the rules are much different when the young looking beer buyer is behind the wheel.Then the officer can pull over the car for some sort of DMV or driving violation and has more power to compel the buyer to produce his license based on an investigation of any minor traffic or vehicle code violation. Of course, this won’t work if the buyer walked to the store, or if the buyer got a ride from a friend.

If you have been arrested or ticketed with an underage drinking violation, the Law Offices of Wiley Nickel can help you. We will explore every possible avenue to keep this charge off your record. We also can have certain charges on your record expunged to make sure future employers never find out.  We will walk you through the expungement process as part of our free initial consultation.

Contact a Raleigh, North Carolina, alcohol possession lawyer to discuss your case.  We are very familiar with police procedures for students at NC State and other nearby colleges and universities.  You can reach us at wiley@wileynickel.com any time for a free initial consultation.  You can also call our law offices at 1 (919) 585-1486.  We are centrally located in Cary, NC near Morrisville between most colleges in the Triangle.