Underage Drinking Question...

I’ll cut to the chase immediately…

A young man I know {19 years old} drank beer at a party and while he was helping his very intoxicated friend walk home, a police car stopped and the Officer intervened. The 19 year old was cited under the “zero tolerance” village ordinance for underage drinking {he blew .06}. The fine is $120.

Now, this 19 year old is getting multiple letters from attorneys offering to “help” him out.

I suppose my question is this. Is it necessary to get a lawyer involved for this type of incident ??? He does not have a criminal record of any kind.

The only wrinkle is the following: He will soon be applying for a CDL permit because he has an opportunity to join the IBEW {International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers}.

Thanks in advance for your advice.


To piggyback on this question, what if the non-minor but not-yet-21yo declined to blow and wasn’t exhibiting any obvious symptoms?

If found guilty, you can expect these plans to be put on hold for the next five years.

Can you elaborate please?
He does not have the CDL permit yet…

Let’s face it, he was drinking underage and operating a motor vehicle. FYI, the max BAL for a CDL holder is .04%. Anything over is DUI.

I expect those lawyers offering to “help” him out will want to get paid, also. If it’s a first offence, there might be a thing where if he takes a safety class (for a fee), they’ll expunge the DUI. Or maybe that just clears some points.

The OP doesn’t say he was driving. It says he was walking.

No DUI involved !
Only $120 fine.
He and his friend were walking on the sidewalk…
Sorry if I did not make that clear in my OP.


Since this involves legal advice, let’s move it to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

FTR, I’m no authority on the matter, but if I understand it correctly, for insurance reasons, the have to pull his driving history. Any DWIs that show up in the last five years, the insurance company will not cover him.
He’ll have no problem getting his CDL, but good luck finding a job with a DWI on your record.

ETA: When I refer to insurance company, I’m refering to the employer’s insurance company, not the young man’s.

You know what? It just registered the kid wasn’t driving. So feel free to disregard my previous posts. Sorry.

The infraction exists only in his criminal record. So it would depend on how deeply the employer digs and what requirements exist for the CDL. If they’re just looking at his driving record, then he’s cleanclean.

Damn, missed the editing window, or I would have made it very clear that they were both walking on the sidewalk when stopped by the Police Officer.

He was walking so no violation of the VC.
I assume he was sighted under a misdemeanor violation so it should not effect his joining the IBEW. But there may be some employers that may have a problem with it. But not the majority.

It is massively false economy not to contest every involvement with the legal system. ALWAYS lawyer up and then work the system to minimize the damage.

In today’s zero tolerance world that stupid infraction could still be haunting this kid 20 years from now. Spend the $500 or whatever to get it fixed.

I flipped my truck over driving drunk, I didn’t try to evade, I just called the cops to the scene. No one was injured, no property was damaged (other than my truck), I was arrested for DUI but eventually plead to DWAI (ability impaired) which is not even a misdemeanor, simply a violation like a speeding ticket. Small fine, insurance went up a little (really, only a little), will be expunged from my driving record after 7 years.

Drinking laws vary wildly not only by state (I live in NY) but by municipality. But my guess would be that because it didn’t involve driving it shouldn’t even be a criminal misdemeanor. It sounds like it was just underage drinking, not even public intoxication, it should just be a violation. If it is a possible criminal charge I would consult a lawyer.

It sounds like a non-criminal fine not unlike a parking ticket or the like. Perhaps a conversation with an attorney to be absolutely sure but it doesn’t sound like an issue to begin with.

My son was cited for possession of a beer by a minor while standing on the street in front of his fraternity house during a party (NOT anywhere near a vehicle.) It was a minor municipal infraction, and he simply paid the fine (and had to listen to lectures about being a dumbass from his mother and me.)

However, alcohol laws are state and local things, so how it’s treated here may not be how it’s treated where you are. If he’s worried, he should talk to a lawyer. Make sure he pays for it. Nothing teaches responsibility better than legal costs.

Sorry, I didn’t catch the WALKING while intoxicated. It’s not a traffic violation, it’s a minor misdemeanor most likely. After some period of time with no further convictions, it’s possible he can pay a fee to have it expunged from his record.

Why is underage drinking a crime? Since drinking is legal to do if one is older, the charge is based solely on age. Isn’t that age discriminination?

Since this point hasn’t been brought up yet, I’m going to say: SCREW those lawyers that are contacting you. If you want to retain a lawyer (which is completely up to you, but unnecessary, IMO), but go through reputable channels- ask around for recommendations. The lawyers that are contacting you are more like ambulance chasers than anyone you would want to deal with.