Albuquerque Minor in Possession Defense Lawyers
In New Mexico as in the rest of the country, federal and state laws prohibit a minor under the age of 21 from purchasing or being served alcoholic beverages in most situations. Going along with the prohibition of underage drinking is the prohibition against an adult over the legal drinking age to give or sell alcohol to a minor, to purchase alcohol for a minor, or to assist the minor in obtaining alcohol in any way, for example by lying a out the minor’s age. Contact an experienced Albuquerque minor in possession defense attorney if you or a family member have been accused of minor in possession charges. There are two exceptions under the law:
- A parent, legal guardian, or adult spouse of a minor serving the drink at home.
- Alcohol being used in conjunction with the practice of religious beliefs, such as in the sacrament of communion.
Minor in Possession
Regardless of the fact that virtually everyone is fully aware of the drinking age law, it is routinely ignored by many high school and college students and others under the age of full majority. However, ignoring the law is taking a risk of incurring a fine that could be as high as $1000 and having to perform thirty hours of community service for a first offense, which is a misdemeanor.
A second offense can also come with a fine of up to $1000, but community service the second time around is forty hours, and an additional penalty is a ninety-day suspension of the offender’s driver’s license. A minor who is not yet old enough to drive will have to wait an additional ninety days beyond the date he or she would ordinarily be able to qualify for a license to get one
For the third or any subsequent offence, community service time goes up to sixty hours and the suspension is for two years or until the offender’s twenty-first birthday, whichever is longer.
Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor
It is illegal in New Mexico to furnish alcohol to a minor in a licensed establishment. An adult proven to have provided a minor with alcohol in violation of the law is guilty of a fourth degree felony , faces a potential prison sentence and/or fines, and will bear the burden of being a convicted felon. If the server was lied to about the minor’s age and was reasonably led to believe that the minor was 21 or older, the adult responsible for the deception, rather than the server, could be convicted of a fourth degree felony.
Potential Civil Liability under the Dram Shop Law
New Mexico has what is commonly referred to as a “dram shop” law. If a server in a licensed establishment served alcohol to a minor who then got behind the wheel and caused an accident that resulted in an injury or death, the injured person or survivors of the person who was killed have the right to claim compensation for their monetary and non-monetary losses against the server and the owner of the establishment. A civil action for personal injury or wrongful death is separate from any criminal charges.
A Good Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help in Underage Drinking Cases
If you’re a minor who has been charged with underage drinking or an adult who has been charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor in Albuquerque or anywhere else in the state, call the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices in Albuquerque (505-200-2982) for experienced legal representation. Defenses are available, and your attorney will use every legal means to negotiate an outcome that will keep you out of jail and cause the least amount of disruption to your life and your pocketbook.