If our 18 year old son were to attend a party at a residence in Georgia where alcohol was served to minors/underage guests, but my son chose not to drink any alcohol himself, could he be subject to any possible arrest or detention or charges by the police if the police were to investigate the party and other minor/underage guests had been drinking?
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Georgia
Hello Jacustomer,If the police learned about the party, and were given your son's name as an attemdee, they would likely call him to ask about the party. If that happens he is a suspect for a zero tolerance offense. Just his attendance would be enough to arrest him if he were even near enough to the alcohol to potentially take possession of some. It would probably not be enough to convict him, provided he doesn't make any statements to te the police at all about the party if they reach out to him. Even facts he would think of as harmless can be twisted and used against him. The fact that he exercises his constitutional right to remain silent can never be used against him, but anything he says about it to anyone but a lawyer can.
We saw a Statute in George that makes possession of alcohol by an underage drinker an offense. If he does not drink any alcohol or hold any alcholic beverage, can it be said that he is in possession just by attending the party? Can he request a blood or breath test if they were to come to the party to show that he did not drink any alcohol?
Hello,I'm sorry for the delay. I had to finish an answer for another customer.These underage drinking offenses are strict liability crimes. The minor does not have to be drinking or intoxicated. The police, if they raided the party, would not be required to breathalyze them, although it would make their case stronger if they did. The fact is that an underaged person really shouldn't be at such a party (different if accompanied by his parents), and if the police were to raid the party, they could take minors in under the doctrine of constructive possession. That is, even if they do not catch him with a drink in hand, if he were found close enough to where the liquor was being served, then he would have the ability to exercise control over the alcohol, and that would be enough to take him in. The law for a minor in possession does not require a minor to actually have drunk any of the alcohol. He could be holding it for a friend when the party was raided, and that would be just his bad luck. He has no right to possess alchol -- no right to consume it either, but a minor in consumption of alcohol is a separate offense.States are gung-ho on stopping teen drinking and the laws are construed very favorably in favor of the state. The days when teenagers could come home drunk after a party for the very first time and it was considered a rite of passage are gone. These days it's seen as a crime, and in campus towns, police are literally just lying in wait for the next party.
18 yrs of NYC public defense. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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