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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 100603
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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My son is 17 and has a class D license. He was spending the

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My son is 17 and has a class D license. He was spending the night at a friends house, but decided to come home after curfew. He is a straight A student and had never been in trouble before. When he was pulled over he was scared when asked if he had been drinking. He admitted he did hours before (shocking news to me) but had nothing on him, nor was he given a breathalyzer. He was given a ticket for violation of GA code section 3-3-23.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your son's situation. What exactly are you asking her - what can he expect, and what are his options?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Want advice on how to proceed. Should we hire a lawyer? Or just go to court? As mentioned he is a straight A student who is about to start his senior year and I don't want anything on his record for colleges he may apply for.

Thank you. This is a relatively minor offense (although of course still serious).

What to Expect
Since he has no prior criminal history, the chances of maximum punishment is unlikely. This will likely end in a plea deal, as close to 95% such cases do.

This will not be over on the first hearing, typically. The first setting is the arraignment where a plea is entered (NOT GUILTY/DENIAL). Then this will be reset for "trial" several times which would really give his attorney and the prosecutor (DA) to discuss a plea deal. He may also plead NOT GUILTY/DENIAL himself and then get an attorney later, or, already have an attorney the first time in Court.

Essentially, he has a choice.

1) plead guilty (admission) and simply hope that the Court takes pity on hi (not recommended, and the Judge will likely not);
2) take the matter to trial and risk either being convicted, or, acquitted of charges (risky); or
3) make a plea deal with the DA.

The DA's leverage is that possible certainty that he would be found guilty if he takes this to trial.

His leverage is not only possibility of being found not guilty if taken to trial, but also the pressure exerted unto the DA if the defense pushes for trial, which means man hours, preparation, and a lot of court time.

Because these are relatively minor charges when all is said, and he has no criminal record, the DA may and likely will be willing to negotiate a plea bargain including some counseling, possibly community hours, and no conviction upon end of agreed actions for him to do. He can always choose to go to trial, of course, but this is recommended only if he is confident that his attorney will find him not guilty.

Attorney
Should we hire a lawyer? Or just go to court?

Counsel is recommended. May I recommend the GA Bar referral program - here. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.

The attorney will help negotiate your his matter.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your answer. One last question. How can he be charged with possession with only his admission and no physical evidence?

Jim,

Thank you for your answer.

You are very welcome.

One last question. How can he be charged with possession with only his admission and no physical evidence?

Because he admitted it. Since he admitted it, the officer can introduce his admission as evidence via his testimony. One does not have to actually possess alcohol, but if he admitted to having it earlier, he may be charged with it, I am afraid.

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