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Cedric, Criminal Defense Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 2899
Experience:  Several Years of Criminal Defense Trials in L.A. and O.C. as public defender and private attorney
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Ok, I live in Indiana, and I went to a friends birthday party

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Ok, I live in Indiana, and I went to a friend's birthday party and didn't drink, nor did I supply any alcohol for the party. I simply went back into her room and talked the entire time, not paying attention to the party, just chatting and hanging out. I got there late, so I was there for about 15 minutes when cops busted the party and told everyone to come out of the rooms and give ID's. I'm 22, and I got charged for contributing to a minor, because there were people there that were younger than 18 drinking. I didn't know this, I was just there to hang out with my friend in her room. Is there any way to fight the citation, or should I just understand that I'm guilty by association and get screwed?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Cedric replied 8 years ago.
Yes, you just expressed what the defense to your situation is. People can even challenge red light photos, so it goes without saying that something more severe gives rise to all your rights under the Constitution. Most important is that you have a right to counsel in any criminal proceeding that can constitute a misdemeanor. Despite it's lack of seriousness, your offense (most likely) can be charged as a misdemeanor and therefore you can get a Public Defender if you qualify. If you are just being charged with an infraction and it's to be treated as a traffic ticket, you still have nothing to lose in fighting the charge and you have a perfectly explainable factual defense. The prosecution is the one who has the purden of proving ALL the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt. In your situation, your explanation is a perfectly reasonable alternative, and therefore any judge or jury (who's following the law) would conclude that there's enough reasonable doubt that they couldn't find you guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. (If everyone over 21 were charged at partys with people under 21 for delinquency to minors it would really kill all college parties as well). I reccomend requesting the public defender at your arraignment and definitely plead NOT GUILTY if you are (not guilty). I had a lot of clients who resigned themselves to pleading guilty to things they were innocent of, but it's important to know that the D.A.'s burden is much higher than the police's and that you have the right to representation even in such relatively non-serious matters as contributing to a minor's delinquency. Hope it isn't too cold out in Indiana (I'm from the midwest; love Bloomington). Good luck with everything!
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