Minor in Possession of Alcohol

We all know that it is illegal for a person under the age of 21 years old to consume alcohol. Law enforcement officers throughout Salt Lake City, and the surrounding areas take an aggressive approach to enforcing the laws in Utah that prohibit the underaged possession of alcohol by a minor child or young adult. 

Under Utah law, a person under the age of 21 may not have a measurable amount of alcohol in their body. §32B-4-409(1)(f). A person under 21 years of age with a measurable amount of alcohol in their body can be charged with the crime of “minor in possession.”

A conviction for “minor in possession” is a class B misdemeanor which is punishable by a term of imprisonment for up to 6 months and a fine of up to $1,000.00 plus a 90% surcharge.

Attorney for "Minor in Possession" of Alcohol Crimes in Salt Lake City, Utah

If you were charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol, public intoxication, or underaged drinking, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP. Our attorneys represent young people charged with a crime throughout Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas. Call (801) 532-5297 today to discuss your case.


Penalties for the Misuse of Alcohol by a Minor in Utah

Utah Code Section 32B-4-409 prohibits a minor from purchasing alcohol, attempting to purchase alcohol, soliciting another person to purchase alcohol, possessing alcohol, or consuming alcohol. A violation of this criminal statute is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. In addition, your driver's license can be suspended. 

A first offense is punishable as a class B misdemeanor. Additionally, the statute provides that the court may:

  1. order the minor to complete a screening as defined in Section 41-6a-501;
  2. order the minor to complete an assessment as defined in Section 41-6a-501 if the screening indicates an assessment to be appropriate; an
  3. order the minor to complete an educational series as defined in Section 41-6a-501 or substance abuse treatment as indicated by an assessment.

The statute provides that for a second conviction the court shall:

  1. order the minor to complete a screening as defined in Section 41-6a-501;
  2. order the minor to complete an assessment as defined in Section 41-6a-501 if the screening indicates an assessment to be appropriate; and
  3. order the minor to complete an educational series as defined in Section 41-6a-501 or substance abuse treatment as indicated by an assessment.

Additionally, when the young person who committed the offense is 18, 19, or 20 years old, then the court must suspend the minor's driving privileges. The court may reduce or shorten the suspension period for a first conviction if:

  1. the minor completes an educational series as defined in Section 41-6a-501; or
  2. the minor demonstrates substantial progress in substance abuse treatment.

For a second or subsequent offense, the court may reduce or shorten the suspension period if:

  1. the minor has completed an educational series as defined in Section 41-6a-501 or demonstrated substantial progress in substance abuse treatment; and
  2. the person is 18 years of age or older and provides a sworn statement to the court that the person has not unlawfully consumed alcohol or drugs for at least a one-year consecutive period during the suspension period imposed under Subsection (5)(a); or
  3. the person is under 18 years of age and has the person's parent or legal guardian provide an affidavit or sworn statement to the court certifying that to the parent or legal guardian's knowledge the person has not unlawfully consumed alcohol or drugs for at least a one-year consecutive period during the suspension period imposed under Subsection (5)(a).

For a juvenile who is 13, 14, 15, 16, or 17 years old who is found guilty of the offense, the court must suspend the juvenile's driving privileges. 


Defenses to Minor in Possession of Alcohol

It is a defense to the crime of minor in possession of alcohol in Utah if the young person’s consumption of an alcoholic product was for one of the following purposes:

  1. for medicinal purposes if:
    • the minor is at least 18 years old; or
    • the alcoholic product is furnished by:
      • the parent or guardian of the minor; or
      • the minor's health care practitioner, if the health care practitioner is authorized by law to write a prescription; or
  2. as part of a religious organization's religious services.

Different Types of Crimes Related to the Misuse of Alcohol by a Minor Child 

Utah law also provides for other related offenses related to the use or possession of alcohol by a young person who has not yet reached their 21st birthday including: 

  • 32B-4-409(1)(A) - UNLAWFUL FOR MINOR TO PURCHASE AN ALCOHOLIC PRODUCT
  • 32B-4-409(1)(B) - UNLAWFUL FOR MINOR TO ATTEMPT TO PURCHASE ALCOHOLIC PRODUCT
  • 32B-4-409(1)(C) - UNLAWFUL FOR MINOR TO SOLICIT PERSON TO PURCHASE ALCOHOL
  • 32B-4-409(1)(D) - UNLAWFUL FOR MINOR TO SOLICIT PERSON TO PURCHASE ALCOHOL
  • 32B-4-409(1)(E) - UNLAWFUL FOR MINOR TO POSSESS AN ALCOHOLIC PRODUCT
  • 32B-4-409(1)(F) - UNLAWFUL FOR MINOR TO CONSUME AN ALCOHOLIC PRODUCT MEASURABLE BLOOD, BREATH, OR URINE ALC CONCENTRATION - MINOR
  • 32B-4-409(2)(A) - MISREPRESENT MINOR'S AGE (BY MINOR) TO OBTAIN ALCOHOL
  • 32B-4-409(2)(B) - MISREPRESENT MINOR'S AGE (BY ANOTHER) TO OBTAIN ALCOHOL
  • 32B-4-409(3) - MINOR IN POSSESSION OF ALCOHOL IN LIMOUSINE OR CHARTERED BUS
  • 32B-4-410 - UNLAWFUL ADMIT/ATTEMPT TO GAIN ADMIT BY MINOR IN BAR/TAVERN
  • 32B-4-411(2)(A)(I) - UNLAWFUL USE OF PROOF OF AGE- FIRST OFFENSE

Finding an Attorney for the Unlawful Possession of Alcohol by a Minor in Utah

If you were charged with any violation of Utah Code Section 32B-4-409, 32B-4-410, or 32B-4-411, related to the possession of use of alcohol, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP. The attorneys at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP represent young people charged with drug abuse and alcohol abuse crimes throughout the greater Salt Lake City area and the surrounding areas in Utah. 

We also represent clients for underaged drinking and driving offenses and being intoxicated in public. Call us today to discuss your charge, potential penalties, and important defenses. Call (801) 532-5297 today to discuss your case. 

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