For many college students, underage drinking is simply part of the college experience. Students know that it is illegal to drink when under the age of 21, but few think twice about the fact that drinking at a house party or a frat party might have consequences beyond a hangover.

As 80 Wake Forest students discovered last month, though, underage drinking can have serious consequences. In mid-November, police were called to break up a large frat party and dozens of students were cited for underage drinking. In addition to the criminal charges, these students may face sanctions under the university’s alcohol policy.

In North Carolina, someone who is caught with alcohol under the age of 21 can be charged as a Minor In Possession (MIP) of alcohol. An underage person who is in possession of alcohol may be accused of other crimes, as well. For example, it is a crime to use a fraudulent or altered driver’s license to obtain alcohol. Those who help underage people obtain alcohol can be charged with “aiding and abetting” underage alcohol consumption under state laws.

Anytime someone is accused of a criminal offense related to alcohol, it is important to work with a knowledgeable criminal attorney. Even a misdemeanor conviction can have long-term consequences for a young adult seeking to finish college and begin a career.

In many cases, it is in an individual’s best interest to challenge the charges. An experienced Raleigh criminal lawyer can help to ensure that an individual’s rights and interests are protected. Even when the evidence is strong, the state may be willing to negotiate a plea bargain for a lesser offense or for the completion of a first-time offender program.

If you have been accused of underage drinking, speak with a North Carolina criminal lawyer before making any decisions to ensure that you understand your options.

State v. B.S.: Not Guilty Verdict in First Degree Murder Case.

In this case, our client was charged with First Degree Murder in connection with a “drive-by” shooting that occurred in Charlotte, NC. The State’s evidence included GPS ankle monitoring data linking our client was at the scene of the crime and evidence that our client confessed to an inmate while in jail. Nonetheless, we convinced a jury to unanimously find our client Not Guilty. He was released from jail the same day.

State v. S.G.: First Degree Murder Charge Dismissed.

Our client was charged with First Degree for the shooting death related to alleged breaking and entering. The State’s evidence included a co-defendant alleging that our client was the shooter. After conducting a thorough investigation with the use of a private investigator, we persuaded the State to dismiss entirely the case against our client.

State v. B.D.: First Degree Murder Charged Dismissed.

After conducting an investigation and communicating with the prosecutor about the facts and circumstances indicating that our client acted in self-defense, the case was dismissed and deemed a justifiable homicide.

State v. I.R.: Reduction from First Degree Murder to Involuntary Manslaughter and Concealment of Death.

Our client was charged with the First Degree Murder of a young lady by drug overdose. After investigating the decedent’s background and hiring a preeminent expert toxicologist to fight the State’s theory of death, we were able to negotiate this case down from Life in prison to 5 years in prison, with credit for time served.

State v. J.G.:

Our client was charged with First Degree Murder related to a “drug deal gone bad.” After engaging the services of a private investigator and noting issues with the State’s case, we were able to negotiate a plea for our client that avoided a Life sentence and required him to serve only 12 years.