Before I answer your questions I found the statute on line. I hope you've read it. If not, read it now:
He stated on the first visit that the entry
was unwarranted and the state could not prove
that my son wasn't anything more than a
witness if they proved the entry was
I don't always disagree with attorneys, but sometimes I do, like now.
Paragraph 14 of the statute:
- No law enforcement officer shall enter upon any private property to investigate any violation of this section without probable cause.
The officer had earlier been advised by an informant that a drinking party was going to happen there. That gave him probably cause to enter and investigate once the door was open.
I know this lawyer is way smarter than I am
when it comes to the law but when I came away
from that visit, I didn't feel like he was
taking our situation very seriously and after
visiting with you
He probably wasn't taking it seriously because it's a juvenile offense, the penalties are rather light, and the records get sealed. Assuming that this is your son's first (and last) offense it eventually fades into the category of youthful indiscretion.
Does the state have to prove each minor is
guilty of possesion or is it a case of guilt
Paragraph 5 of the statute:
- Prima facie evidence of a violation of subsection (2) of this section shall consist of: (a) Evidence that the defendant was under the age of twenty-one years and possessed or consumed ethyl alcohol anywhere in this state.
I don't think a judge will believe that your son was just a witness. He and his friends were there and the beverages were there. Prima facie means that there is no other explanation for your son being their with the beverages other than being in possession.
I know you can not give legal advise but
theoretically, If you were faced with this
situation, which way would you go?
My kids are ages 38 and 40. They were teenagers once and so was I. As an adult I don't condone underage drinking, but I understand it having participated on several occasions when I was in high school, and quite regularly between the ages of 19 and 21 when I was in the Army. I know, it can be argued that being in the Army makes it OK, but technically I was still breaking the law, just never got caught.
Getting back to your question, each of my kids made minor blunders that involved the authorities. Instead of getting them lawyers I insisted that they take their lumps for it and learn that behavior has consequences.
I can't tell you what to do but, considering that the first offense involves up to a $250 fine, 24 hrs community service and some other useful options, I would take my kid to court, have him admit it and accept the punishment, making darn sure he read the statutory consequences of a second and third offense.