What you need to know about furnishing alcohol to minors at University Lakes Justice Court

Because most college students who are not old enough to purchase alcohol know at least one person who is, it is common for our office to represent clients who have been charged with furnishing alcohol to minors. According to Arizona law, it is illegal for a person who is over 21 to knowingly purchase alcohol for a person who is under 21.

There are two common scenarios in which our clients are charged with this offense. First, if the police respond to a party for any reason and they find that the person hosting the party purchased alcohol for people under 21, the person who purchased the alcohol will receive a citation and in some cases, will be arrested.

Second, and this is the most common scenario, police will wait outside an area that is known for underage people to purchase alcohol. The most common place is a Safeway at Broadway and Rural or some of the smaller liquor shops in Tempe. The police will wait in their car for people coming out of the shop who appear to be under 21. If a police officer has reasonable suspicion to stop a person, i.e. the person appears to be under 21 and is holding beer, they have the right to ask the person for their ID. If the subject is over 21, they will investigate whether anyone in their group or car is under 21. If there happens to be a person who is under 21, they will separate everyone and investigate the case. If a person under 21 says they gave money to another person to purchase alcohol or was going to receive alcohol from the person over 21, the subject will be charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor.

If our clients are cited by the Arizona State Police or Arizona Department of Liquor, their case will be assigned to the University Lakes justice Court. As a defense attorney who has represented hundreds of clients at the University Lakes Justice Court, we know exactly how to handle cases in an effort to provide clients with a not guilty or a reduction of consequences. Because the court sees so many defendants, it is important to take an individualized approach. We sit down with the prosecutor, a prosecutor who we are generally on a first name basis with, and not only discuss the facts of your case but discuss who you are as a person and why you do not deserve to have a criminal conviction on your record.

Furnishing alcohol to a minor is a class two misdemeanor. The University Lakes Justice Court may take a hard position on this case. It’s best not to handle a case like this by yourself. At the very least, call the attorneys at my office for a free legal advice.

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