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J.Hazelbaker
J.Hazelbaker, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4385
Experience:  Extensive training and experience in criminal law matters, both prosecuting and defending.
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My son was driving a vehicle and given a ticket for open container

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My son was driving a vehicle and given a ticket for open container of alcohol and underage possession of alcohol. There were two opened beer cans in his car that two other people in the car were drinking. My son did not drink (passed the breathalizer) and had no intention of consuming any of this alcohol. I read that you must have intent to consume the alcohol found to be charged with this but would appreciate clarification before we go to his court appearance tomorrow night.
Under New York law, in order to be convicted of underage possession, it has to be proven that there was an intent to consume.

The first hearing is a preliminary hearing where your son will enter a plea (guilty, no-contest, or not-guilty). If he enters any plea other than "not-guilty" then he will be convicted. If he enters a not-guilty plea, then another pre-trial hearing will be set several weeks to a couple months. In the interim, he can get an attorney. He does not need an attorney at tomorrow's hearing, unless he plans to plead guilty or no-contest, which he shouldn't do under the facts you describe. An attorney should be able to negotiate a more favorable resolution in the coming weeks.

Please let me know, if you have follow-up questions.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your advice, I would also like to know if he should just pay the ticket for open container of alcohol as this did not require a court appearence or would it be best to plead not quilty on this as well and handle them both together? Thank you again...
I would not pay the ticket until the other matter was resolved. I've seen situations like this where both charges were dismissed.
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