Home Law What are the Consequences of Underage Drinking in Tennessee?

What are the Consequences of Underage Drinking in Tennessee?

by Paul Petersen

A conviction for underage drinking can affect the rest of your life

In Tennessee, underage drinking (i.e. drinking while under the age of 21) is a misdemeanor offense that can result in jail time up to 11 months and 29 days), fines up to $2,500, and potentially the loss of your driver’s license; not to mention remaining on your criminal record forever. Depending upon the case, judges can also order additional penalties, such as education programs, rehabilitation, community service, and more.

While an underage drinking conviction may seem trivial, in fact, it is a criminal conviction like any other that can interfere with your record, future, and freedom. As a result, if you have been accused of underage drinking, it is critical that you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to ensure that you have the best criminal defense possible, as early as possible, so as to preserve your rights.

Your Defense

It is the government’s obligation to prove – beyond a reasonable doubt – that an underage defendant consumed alcohol, and there can be a number of concerns associated with some of these circumstances; for example, if the police made multiple arrests for underage drinking at a party, where they assumed everyone in attendance was consuming alcohol, or if, under any other circumstances, an arrest was linked to the assumption that an underage individual was under the influence even though the evidence is absent.

For example, parents and school staff are often instructed to be on the lookout for “signs” of underage drinkingsuch as “changes in mood or behaviors,” “declining school attendance,” “slurred speech” and “red eyes”; however, all of these symptoms could very well be associated with other issues going on with young people, such as depression or exhaustion.

Potential Related Charges

Depending upon the circumstances, there are additional charges that will sometimes be brought alongside underage consumption, such as:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Minor in possession of alcohol
  • Purchase of alcohol by a minor
  • Furnishing alcohol to minors
  • False identification for obtaining alcohol
  • Prohibition against hosting underage drinking
  • Transportation of alcohol

Speak With an Experienced Tennessee Criminal Defense Attorney

Your future depends upon the most strategic, aggressive defense that could possibly be put forth on your behalf. This is especially important given that, in Tennessee, the process will be different for those who are under the age of 18 versus those who are 18 – 20 years old.

If you are under arrest or suspected of a crime, ensure that one event in your life does not ruin the rest of it by speaking with our law office today to find out how we can help.