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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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What proof is needed to charge someone with contributing alcohol

Resolved Question:

What proof is needed to charge someone with contributing alcohol to a minor?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 7 years ago.

Thank you for your question.


In Indiana, this would actually be charged as "Contributing to the delinquincy of a minor", and could be either a Class A Misdemeanor or Class C felony if the person giving the alcohol to the child was at least 21 years old.

The relevant statute reads in part:

Contributing to the delinquency of a minor

IC 35-46-1-8
Sec. 8. (a) A person at least eighteen (18) years of age who knowingly or intentionally encourages, aids, induces, or causes a person less than eighteen (18) years of age to commit an act of delinquency (as defined by IC 31-37-1 or IC 31-37-2) commits contributing to delinquency, a Class A misdemeanor.


However, the offense described in subsection (a) is a Class C felony: if:

(A) the person committing the offense is at least twenty-one (21) years of age and knowingly or intentionally furnishes:

(i) an alcoholic beverage to a person less than eighteen (18) years of age in violation of IC 7.1-5-7-8 when the person committing the offense knew or reasonably should have known that the person furnished the alcoholic beverage was less than eighteen (18) years of age;


All a prosecutor would need to establish therefore is that a person knowingly or intentionally gave alcohol to a minor to sustain a conviction. All the police would need to actually charge or arrest someone is a reasonable, good faith belief that a crime has been committed.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I recently found out someone over 21 provided my daughter with alcohol. I have no physical proof of this other than I confronted my daugther and she told me it happened. Would I be able to present a good enough case to get a conviction without physical proof of this? I don't think my daughter would testify to this and I'm afraid it would be a "he says, she says" situation and I would be wasting my time and money.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 7 years ago.

Thank you for your reply.


There shouldn't be any cost involved to you because you would be reporting the providing of alcohol to the authorities to investigate. If you daughter wouldn't be willing to testify however, it sounds unlikely that a prosecutor would even have enough information to go on, because as you said, it would be a case of "he said, she said" and they may choose not to even file criminal charges in such a situation.


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