Lucky you! I can give you some better news, at least.
I saw the "I was driving home with a friend" but missed the "my friend got pulled over."
Here's the statute with which you were charged:
NRS 202.020 Purchase, consumption or possession of alcoholic beverage by minor.
1. Any person under 21 years of age who purchases any alcoholic beverage or any such person who consumes any alcoholic beverage in any saloon, resort or premises where spirituous, malt or fermented liquors or wines are sold is guilty of a misdemeanor.
2. Any person under 21 years of age who, for any reason, possesses any alcoholic beverage in public is guilty of a misdemeanor.
3. This section does not preclude a local governmental entity from enacting by ordinance an additional or broader restriction.
4. For the purposes of this section, possession “in public” includes possession:
(a) On any street or highway;
(b) In any place open to the public; and
(c) In any private business establishment which is in effect open to the public.
5. The term does not include:
(a) Possession for an established religious purpose;
(b) Possession in the presence of the person’s parent, spouse or legal guardian who is 21 years of age or older;
(c) Possession in accordance with a prescription issued by a person statutorily authorized to issue prescriptions;
(d) Possession in private clubs or private establishments; or
(e) The selling, handling, serving or transporting of alcoholic beverages by a person in the course of his or her lawful employment by a licensed manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer of alcoholic beverages.
As you can see, this is a zero tolerance crime. There's really no wiggle room to fight this, unless the officer's stop was illegal. And to contest that would probably be a longshot, since police need very little basis to justify making a traffic stop.
The penalties for this can include up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1.000, alcohol treatment or counseling for which you'd be required to pay, some community service, and the possibility of a suspended license for two years.
States usually provide some kind of diversion disposition for a charge like this -- you plead nolo, they suspend the sentence, you work off the conviction with community service and a brief stint on probation, and then the case gets dismissed. However, since you appear to have already gotten something like that with your battering case, it's possible that the prosecutor won't let you get two bites of that apple. I don't see that jail will be a problem for you, but because of your former contact, I would still advise your having a lawyer to see if you can come out of this one without a criminal record
Edited by FranL on 8/2/2010 at 11:29 PM EST