A common misconception for Minor in Consumption of Alcohol charges is that police officers have to administer a portable breath test in order to file charges against a person. Potential clients call my office all the time to tell me that the officer didn’t give them a breathalyzer and, therefore, their case should be dismissed. Criminal defense is not that simple. A lawyer cannot just go into court, say a few magic words and have a case dismissed. Criminal defense representation includes studying criminal law, criminal procedure and knowing how to articulate defenses in a manner that is easily understood by jurors and judges.
Police officers need probable cause to arrest or issue a citation. Probable cause can be based on what we call the totality of circumstances. This means, the officer can use her training, experience and senses to determine whether or not someone under the age of 21 has been drinking. For example, if a person refuses a breath test or the officer does not provide them with the opportunity to perform a breath test, but the person smells like alcohol, is slurring their speech, is having a hard time walking, exhibits balancing issues, the officer has probable cause to believe the person has consumed alcohol.
After representing hundreds of ASU, U of A and NAU students, my office has developed innovative and effective defenses to fight our clients’ underage drinking charges. These cases can be complicated and should only be handled by an experienced attorney.
If you have been charged with MIC or MIP in Arizona, my office would be glad to review and discuss the facts relating to your case at no charge. We want people to have sound legal advice before admitting to a crime that either they didn’t commit or a crime where there are legitimate defenses.