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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27763
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My son attends UW freshman. On hallowing night while walking

Customer Question

Hi My son attends UW freshman. On hallowing night while walking alone to his dorm was stopped by UW police and got a positive alcohol breath test. He had been drinking. Was given a citation for underage drinking, walk back to the dorm and has a court appearance (appearance not required) next thursday. 1st offence. Should he go to court alone or a lawyer should be with him.Thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.


You should send your son to court with a lawyer to ensure he can dispose of this case in some way that does not give him a criminal record. There are special programs usually available to first offenders with this type of crime which would allow your son to plead guilty but work off his conviction. That is, after he stays out of further trouble during a period of supervision, takes anti-alcohol classes, does some community service and pays some fines, the case can be dismissed.

Although on a first offense your son would be eligible for such a disposition, it may have to be negotiated. A lawyer would be more likely to accomplish this successfully than a college freshman. Additionally, in case there are grounds to dismiss this case so that no plea would be necessary, it's a lawyer who will spot that and be able to make a legal argument and not your son. Finally, teenagers tend to take the easy way out of tough situations. Without a lawyer he might be inclined to just want to plead guilty, pay a fine and get the matter over with. That would give him a criminal record, which could have lifetime consequences.

There's a reason that our founding fathers gave criminal defendants a Constitutional right of representation. Protect his rights and his future by getting him an attorney.