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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27757
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My son (19) was issued 2 citations for possessing alcohol

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My son (19) was issued 2 citations for possessing alcohol and having someone else's ID. The officer came upon him with a cup in his hand outdoors within a fenced in area at a a private fraternity function. He wasn't asked if he had alcohol, but was asked for his ID which he said he didn't have with him. The officer then handcuffed him, searched him and pulled out his wallet with someone else's ID. My son didn't resist, but didn't verbalize consent either. He was threatened with being taken to jail, led to a police car where the officer then asked if he had a drink. My son acknowledged that he did have a bourbon and coke. No miranda rights were read and the only incriminating evidence is his own statement given while handcuffed, and the seizure of his wallet without permission that had someone else's ID. There was no proof that the ID was used to do anything illicit. Is this evidence all permissable? Is it worth fighting, or should he just take the expensive ADP class?
Hello Jacustomer,

Unfortunately, these underaged drinking offenses are zero tolerance laws, and there's likely enough evidence here to see to it that you son's convicted. It's not necessary that he drink. It's not necessary that he be tested. It's sufficient that he be found in a situation where, as an underaged person, he has no right to drink and that he had open access to the alcohol. He could then get charged under a theory of constructive possession. His holding the cup is damaging, alcohol and evidence of drinking being one of those things that one doesn't have to be an expert witness to identify, either in or out of court. The statute does not have much wiggle room, and it's designed that way to be essentially prohibitive in nature. While your son could certainly fight the charges and get a hearing to see if the statement could be suppressed at trial, he would have an uphill battle beating the charges.

As for the ID, the very displaying of identification that was not his for the purpose of trying to deceiving the police as to his age and his identity is illegal per se, which surely would be of no help in beating the other charge.

He can go to trial on this matter if he wishes but as he was drinking, it's likely that the state can prove his possession. Therefore, the best thing he could probably do for himself is whatever it takes to keep this criminal offense off of his permenant record. As taking the ADP class will allow him to get his case dismissed, that's a very sensible choice despite its expense, as criminal convictions have lifelong personal and professional consequences. And in the same vein,if he needs an attorney in order to get the ADP disposition, you should make sure he has one.
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