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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience practicing attorney
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Dear Sir, My son was arrested in his car with 4 teenagers.

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Dear Sir,
My son was arrested in his car with 4 teenagers. The teenagers had been drinking and there were open containers. All the kids were breathalyzed and my son had 0.00 alcohol. My son had picked up his friends and did not know they would have alcohol on them. He thought he would just then be the designated driver and knew not to drink. When they were all stopped, the others in the car got a ticket for open containment and my son got two tickets, one for open containment and one for MIP. The others got MIP. My son is a good kid, is president of the scouts group, helps out with one handicapped lady, drives his mother around (I am also handicapped with MS), is dyslexic but got the student athlete award at school and has never been in any trouble before. How can we appeal for leniency and what should we do to help him? Many thanks in advance for your kind assistance. (He did not know he could be in trouble for others drinking in his car, he had never been in this situation before). I realize of course that ignorance of the law was no excuse in this case.

Many thanks
Sheila O'Connor
-Could you explain your situation a little more?
How old is your son?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks so much. My son Andrew is 17

One passenger was 18

Three passengers were 16 or 17

All underage. All were drinking and came up positive on the breathalyzer EXCEPT my son Andrew who was 0.00 and who was not drinking (and, in fact,has never drunk). He didnt know they were going to drink and I believe felt it was okay since he wasn't drinking anyway.

They were on their way to a party, lost their way and stopped at a gas station. At that point the oldest boy age 18 went to urinate in a bush, got spotted by a policeman and then everyone in the car got questioned and breathalyzed. My son was the only one allowed to go home - he was allowed to drive himself home, the others had the parents come and get them (they had called us on the phone and that's when we found out what had happened).

Should I ask for the cans to be given to me, there would be no fingerprints from my son since he never touched either the cans nor the box they came in (when the boys got into the car, they were carrying two boxes of beer with them).

Thank you again for all your assistance


Dear Customer - You shouldn't do anything except get a lawyer for your son and not talk to the police. Getting fingerprints is a waste of time since the driver of the vehicle is deemed to be responsible for its contents whether he knew or didn't know what was there. I assume this will be in juvenile court but these drinking offenses are serious and I doubt any reasonable person would believe that your son had no idea that booze was not allowed in a car where no one was 21 years of age.


If you try to make it look like he was just an innocent bystander it will be worse so I would say nothing. If you can't afford a lawyer the court will appoint counsel but I strongly urge you to get an attorney and not try to handle this by yourself. Fortunately the penalties are usually less severe for juveniles than for adults and the fact that your son was not drinking is a good thing. All of this would go to mitigate any sentence but in the end I'm afraid he will be held responsible for the fact that the car contained alcohol and open containers since he was the driver and in control.


Dave Kennett

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