The District of Columbia underage alcohol related offense generally falls under one of these two categories:
- Underage possession
- Underage misrepresentation
UNDERAGE POSSESSION, PURCHASE AND CONSUMPTION
The Statute prohibits any form of possession, purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages. This includes possession and consumption in both private and public space.
Generally charges in this section stem from law enforcement responding to off campus or a private home parties for possible noise violation and finding minors in possession or consuming alcohol.
Violation of this section is considered a civil violation and not a criminal one and for punishable by fines and suspension of the driving privileges.
- First offense $300 fine/60 days suspension;
- Second offense $600 fine/180days of suspension;
- Third and subsequent offense $1000 fines/one year suspension.
Diversion program is also available in lieu of imposing fines and suspension for the first and second offender. The program usually entails completing community service and smaller fines.
MISREPRESENTATION OF AGE
The Statute prohibits:
Falsely representing age either orally or by presenting a fake, manufactured or falsified identification card in order to:
- Purchase, possess, or consume alcoholic beverage,
- Or to again entry into a licensed bar or establishment.
The law enforcement undercover agents usually monitor a line for entry to an establishment and target individuals that appear to be underage.
This effort is coordinated through the bouncers and door staff of the establishment and upon presenting the fake identification card the arrest team moves in.
Violating of this section is considered a misdemeanor and punishable by fines and suspension of the driving privileges.
- The first offense carries fines of up to $300, and suspension of the driving privileges up to 90 days.
- Second offense $600 fines/190 days of suspension.
- Third and subsequent offense, $1000/suspension of the driving privileges up to one year.
First and second time offender are usually afforded a diversion program. The program offers 16 or more hours of community service and up to $200 in fines in lieu of dismissal of the charges.
Any minor misdemeanor, felony or other previous conviction usually rescinds or voids offer of diversion.
The Statute also allows expungement of the arrest and even conviction upon petitioning the Court six months after the dismissal of the charge.
Petitioner usually seeks an order to expunge all records relating to the arrest, information, trial and the conviction.
The court shall grant the petition to expunge if the individual has no pending charges and has no prior felony or misdemeanor convictions.
The effect of the expungement is to restore the individual as if the charges were never launched. In short, the expungement order shall lawfully restore the individual to the status he or she occupied before the arrest.
Upon granting of the expungement, one may state that they have never been charged or arrested unless the application is for a position in a law enforcement field.
It is best to refer to student code of conduct of the particular university to determine the reporting requirement for violating the above provisions (resources section).
In most instances though, the code of conduct would cover incidents within the university campus and jurisdiction, an arrest by the campus police for underage drinking or possession of fake identification will mostly likely trigger an administrative hearing.
However off campus, it is unlikely that an arrest alone would be sufficient cause for an administrative hearing or would trigger one.
Moreover, unless there are prior convictions, an arrest for such offenses should not lead to a conviction. Successful completion of community service, and the diversion program should result in dismissal of the case.
Upon dismissal, and after the six months statutory period, a petition to expunge the arrest record would erase permanently any record of the incident ensuing a clean criminal record.
Drinking in public or possessing an open container of alcohol regardless of age in the District is also considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 60 days of incarceration.
The District underage drinking as well as misrepresentation of age laws are severe and can have a lasting impact on your professional career.
CONTRIBUTING TO DELINQUENCY OF A MINOR
- School truancy;
- Possession or consumption of alcohol or controlled substance;
- To run away from home to engage in criminal activity or conduct;
- To violate a court order;
- To violate any other criminal law considered to be a misdemeanor;or
- To engage with and join a criminal street gang.
Penalties for violation of this section range between 6 months for first offense and significantly more 3-10 years of incarceration for the subsequent offenses.
SALE TO MINORS OR AN INTOXICATED PERSON
- Persons under the age of 21;
- An intoxicated individual; or
- A person with “notoriously intemperate” habits.
The retail establishment is also prohibited from allowing the above listed categories from consuming alcoholic beverages in the licensed establishment.
The penalties are civil fines and suspension of the license.
- 1st offense fines ranging from $2,000- $3,000, and suspension of the license for 5 days;
- 2nd offense fines $3,000-$5,000, suspension of the license for 10 consecutive days;
- 3rd offense fines $5,000- $10,000, suspension for up to 15 days,
- 4th or subsequent offense, the Board may revoke the license indefinitely.
Our DC Criminal lawyer specialized in DC underage possession of alcoholic beverages can seek either outright dismissal of the case or dismissal via diversion program.
Contact our DC fake Id lawyer or DC misrepresentation of age lawyer to schedule a thorough case analysis or evaluation.