It is important to understand the law related to alcohol and marijuana. With the exception of a few carved-out situations, it is illegal for someone under twenty-one years of age to possess or consume alcohol. This law is defined fully in Colorado Revised Statute 18-13-122. It is advisable to consult a criminal defense lawyer to fully explain all aspects of the law.
Possession does not necessarily mean that the alcohol is in your hand when contacted by law enforcement. “Possession”, for our purposes, means that a person holds it anywhere on their person or that a person owns or has custody or it is within his or her immediate presence or control. Under this definition, a person may be in possession by simply being present at a party where alcohol is served and readily available. Under that situation, the alcohol may be “within his or her immediate presence or control”.
There are exceptions to the absolute ban on the underage consumption of alcohol. If an underage person is on private property with his or her parent or legal guardian, then that underage person can consume alcohol. It is also necessary that the owner or legal possessor of such private property give consent for the possession or consumption. There are also narrow exceptions to the law, but it is best to consult with a criminal defense attorney prior to attempting to use one of the exceptions.
It is the Colorado Legislature’s goal to provide more education to the youth of Colorado on the dangers of using alcohol and marijuana early in life. As a consequence, the Courts are geared more towards education, rather than punishment. It is more likely to do classes and community service than paying large fines.
For a conviction on a first offense, the Court shall sentence the underage person to a fine of one hundred dollars or less OR order him or her to complete a substance abuse evaluation or both a fine and substance abuse evaluation. If a person is convicted of a second offense, the Court shall sentence the underage person to a fine of one hundred dollars or less AND order him or her to complete a substance abuse evaluation and complete any alcohol or drug treatment recommended by the evaluation. Additionally, he or she must perform up to twenty-four hours of useful public service. For a third or subsequent offense, the punishment is the same but with additional fines and additional community service.
The fact of the matter is that a conviction for underage drinking or possession of marijuana can have lasting consequences which may affect a person long into the future. If you are charged with a minor in possession, make sure that you have a criminal defense lawyer who knows how to help you.
These are serious charges and you need a serious defense. Contact James Newby Law for a free consultation.