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underage drinking convictions

Underage Drinking in Ohio

Posted on: January 1, 2022 | by: admin

What is Ohio’s Drinking Age?

The drinking age under Ohio law is 21. A person must be 21 years old before they can purchase, possess, or consume alcohol. This is the established law in Ohio and anyone under 21 found to be drinking, possessing, purchasing, or furnishing alcohol to others may be arrested for their conduct. Many people fail to realize the long-term consequences of receiving a criminal record for violation of the drinking age until it shows up on a background check and they are denied a job or other opportunities.

Parental Consent Exception to Drinking Age

There is an exception to Ohio’s drinking age, known as the Parental Consent Rule. This exception permits parents to legally provide consent for their children who are under the age of 21 to consume and possess alcohol. For the exception to apply the parents must give consent, supervise their child, and be physically present with their children while they consume alcohol. Parental Consent is permitted in homes, at bars, or in restaurants, as long as the parents are with their children. It is legal for restaurants and bars to sell alcohol to parents knowing the parents will furnish the alcohol to their children. However, these businesses have the right to choose not to serve alcohol that will be provided to underage children of parents, or they can create their own conditions or restrictions on selling alcohol intended for consumption by underage children.

A key condition for Parental Consent requires the parent to be present with their children. It is illegal for a parent to give verbal or written consent to another person or relative for their child to consume alcohol at any function when the parent is not present. In the same respect, if a parent hosts a party and consents to their underage children drinking, their children’s friends cannot drink unless their parents are present and give consent to their kids to drink. Further, if a parent hosts a party, or an underage person hosts a party, where anyone under 21 years old is drinking without meeting these conditions, they can receive criminal charges for their conduct.

Common Underage Drinking Charges in Ohio

Young people may believe underage drinking is “no big deal” since so many of their friends do it, or they may feel pressure from friends and circumstances to consume alcohol before they reach the age of 21. These same young people are shocked when they receive a criminal charge for violating the drinking age in Ohio. Some of the common criminal charges related to this conduct include:

Open Container

It is illegal in public places or in a motor vehicle to an open container of alcohol. The penalty can be up to $150.00 fine and a criminal record.

Consumption of Alcohol in a Motor Vehicle

Consuming alcohol while in any motor vehicle is a 4th-degree misdemeanor with penalties up to 30 days jail and $250.00 in fines.

Underage Consumption, Purchasing, or Possession of Alcohol

Anyone consuming, purchasing, possessing, or alcohol before they are 21 years old commits a criminal violation Just holding or possessing an alcoholic beverage is a violation of Ohio drinking age law The penalty for these offenses is a 1st-degree misdemeanor with up to 6 months jail and $1,000 fine and court costs.

Disorderly Conduct Intoxication

If a person becomes out of control when they drink too much, and they recklessly cause inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to another due to offensive conduct, they can be criminally charged for their conduct. The penalty for this offense can be a minor misdemeanor or a misdemeanor fourth degree. The penalty can be up to 30 days in jail and a $250.00 fine and costs.

Fake ID – Falsification – Fictitious License

Using a Fake ID or someone else’s ID to enter a bar or purchase alcohol is a 1st-degree misdemeanor in Ohio. The penalty can be up to 6 months jail and $1000 fine plus costs. When a person uses a Fake ID to enter a bar or business that serves alcohol, their driver’s license may be suspended for up to 3 years.

Furnishing Alcohol to Minor

Anyone who furnishes alcohol to an underage person can be prosecuted for Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor. This is a misdemeanor of the first degree with penalties of up to 6 months imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. This applies to anyone who hosts a party and allows underage persons to consume alcohol at their party when they know the person is under 21 years old.

Operating a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol

In Ohio, a person shall not operate a motor vehicle when they are impaired by alcohol. The penalties for operating a vehicle under the influence have become increasingly severe in Ohio. Penalties for a first-time OVI offender can be up to 6 months jail and fines and cost over $,1,000; a driver’s license suspension up to 3 years. Each subsequent OVI conviction results in higher and higher penalties.

Expungement and Sealing of Drinking Age Violations

As a former prosecutor and current criminal defense lawyer, I have witnessed underage people with alcohol-related charges appear at court without an attorney and quickly plead guilty just to be “done with it.” They were hoping that their parents, their school, or their employer would not find out about their charge. It may have seemed like a minor offense at the time. However, later they discovered it was actually a criminal conviction, and this record is preventing them from attending college, receiving a job, obtaining a professional license, renting an apartment, or even obtaining a loan.

Background checks have become common practice for many reasons. An underage drinking offense can create enough of a red flag, that a potential employer may not even consider someone with this record when they have other qualified candidates.

Sealing and Expunging a criminal record is a legal process in the court where the conviction occurred. Applications and Motions for Expungement must be filed in the court and served upon the court and prosecutor. The prosecutor can object to the Expungement. Ohio law requires a court hearing and the burden of proof rest upon the person seeking an expungement. Legal arguments are presented at the hearing. The best way to assure success is to have an experienced expungement attorney. Our law firm has years of success representing clients for expungement. Also, our firm has unique processes for notifying government and private background check companies so they can update their database and remove their conviction records. If our clients cannot attend the court hearing, we can work with the court to conduct a video conference hearing; or file a motion with the court to obtain permission so our client does not have to appear for the hearing, and we go to the hearing on their behalf.

Experienced Ohio Record Sealing and Expungement Attorney

If you have a record for an Underage Drinking offense, Expunging the record now is the best way to eliminate it before it becomes a problem for you in the future. We are a trusted Ohio Law Firm and have been in business for over 30 years. We handle cases in all Ohio Counties. We have a proven record of success in obtaining expungements for our clients. Take our confidential free expungement consultation to determine if you are eligible.