Columbia Student Criminal Defense Lawyer
Contact Attorney Marion M. Moses Today: (855) 796-0188
If you have been charged with a student or underage crime, you should seek legal representation as soon as possible. Student cases are handled uniquely by the courts and often on a case-by-case basis. With over 20 years of trial experience and former prosecutorial experience, attorney Marion M. Moses can work personally with you and your child to develop a strong defense.
Common Student Offenses
Whether your child is a student under 18 or a college student, common criminal allegations they may face include:
- Fake ID
- Underage drinking or possession of alcohol
- Sexual misconduct
- Possession of drugs, drug paraphernalia
Further, note that South Carolina law also penalizes for “status offenses,” which are offenses that only a minor might commit. For example, status offenses include:
- Truancy (skipping school)
- Incorrigibility (refusal to obey parents)
- Running away from home
- Gaining admission to a theater by false identification
If your child has been charged with a student or underage offense, they may have to attend a disciplinary hearing, criminal hearing, or both. It will be helpful to have a good attorney familiar with student cases in Columbia to strategize your child’s defense and represent them at the hearings to argue for minimum penalties.
What are South Carolina’s Underage Drinking Laws?
Perhaps one of the most common student cases The Law Offices of Marion M. Moses, LLC handles is underage drinking cases. South Carolina’s state drinking laws penalize those under 21 for possessing, consuming, and driving under the influence of alcohol.
If you are under 21 and try to obtain alcohol by lying about your age, you are engaging in “misrepresentation.” By law, you can be arrested for lying about your age, regardless of whether you are successful in buying alcohol. According to the state penal code, any person who provides false information about their age has committed a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $100-$200, up to 30 days in jail, or both. If you’re successful in your attempt to buy alcohol, you will also be charged with knowingly possessing alcohol. Violations of purchasing, possessing, and consuming alcohol are punished similarly by a fine of $100-$200, up to 30 days in jail, or both. You will also be required to complete an alcohol safety training class if you are convicted of any of these charges.
If you are underage and accused of driving under the influence, you will face more severe penalties. As a minor, you could face a DUI charge with a BAC of 0.02 percent. You don’t have to drink very much to get to this level, and in many cases just one drink can push a minor over this threshold. Be aware that if your BAC reaches 0.08 percent, you can be charged as an adult.
Note that the principle of “implied consent” maintains that you must give a breath, blood or urine sample for the purpose of detecting alcohol if asked to by law enforcement. Refusal to do so may be considered an admission of guilt and lead to more severe consequences.
Jail time is 3 months for a first offense and 6 months for a second offense. If you refuse the breathalyzer test, you could face 6 months for a first offense and 1 year for a second offense.
When deciding on your sentence, the courts only consider offenses within the last 3 years, known as the “lookback” period. For example, if you receive a DUI at age 15, another charge at age 18 would count as your second offense, but another charge at age 20 would be considered a first offense.
Charged with an Underage Crime in Columbia?
Underage alcohol convictions can have consequences beyond jail time, fines, driver’s license suspensions, and mandatory alcohol programs. You might also face increased car insurance rates, loss of scholarship opportunities, obstacles getting accepted to college, and trouble finding a job. Finding an experienced student crimes lawyer like Marion M. Moses can help you argue for the lowest possible penalties and set your future back on track.
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