When the Braves are playing baseball at Turner Field, you can be sure that the Atlanta Police Department will be aggressively targeting alcohol consumption by minors. The actual criminal charge is not as serious as many others, but the immediate consequences of such an arrest may feel much more onerous.
When a minor is caught consuming alcohol at a sporting event in Atlanta, the minor will likely be arrested as opposed to merely being issued a citation. The minor will be handcuffed and transported to the city jail to be booked in. This, in and of itself is quite unpleasant. However, it is often worse than it sounds because the trip to the jail is frequently not immediate. The minor may be kept in the back of an uncomfortable transport vehicle, handcuffed, for a lengthy period of time with other similarly situated offenders. Sometimes they may spend much of the entire Braves game in the back of a poorly air-conditioned vehicle waiting to be brought to the jail.
Once the minor arrives at the city jail, he/she will often be held there until he/she appears before a judge. If the arrest happened on the weekend, the minor could be held for one to two nights before being released. This is in part because the jail will not automatically set a bond amount for someone charged with minor in possession of alcohol.
With other types of common criminal charges like DUI, or marijuana possession, a person’s friends or family can typically post bond shortly after the individual is booked in. The jail will automatically set the bond for almost all non-violent, misdemeanor offenses.
However, when the charge is minor in possession of alcohol the jail defers the responsibility of setting a bond to the courts. On the weekend, this often means that it will take until Sunday afternoon, or sometimes evening before the minor sees a judge.
The only silver lining is that often the minor is then released on a signature bond – which means they do not have to post any money in order to be released.
Once the minor is released from the jail, there are still serious consequences that he/she should be aware of. First, in Georgia, minor in possession of alcohol is classified as a misdemeanor criminal offense. That means that in addition to probation and a fine, among other things, the minor is facing additional jail time. Also, depending on whether the minor was driving at the time of the citation, he/she may be facing an automatic license suspension that the Department of Driver Services will impose once it receives notice from the court.
Call an attorney immediately if you are having trouble getting a minor out of jail in Atlanta. A lawyer may be able to expedite the process or assist in getting your friend or relative out as soon as possible.
In Georgia, O.C.G.A. § 3-3-23(a) codifies the law that makes it illegal for a minor to possess alcohol:
(1) No person knowingly, directly or through another person, shall furnish, cause to be furnished, or permit any person in such person’s employ to furnish any alcoholic beverage to any person under 21 years of age;
(2) No person under 21 years of age shall purchase, attempt to purchase, or knowingly possess any alcoholic beverage;
(3) No person under 21 years of age shall misrepresent such person’s age in any manner whatever for the purpose of obtaining illegally any alcoholic beverage;
(4) No person knowingly or intentionally shall act as an agent to purchase or acquire any alcoholic beverage for or on behalf of a person under 21 years of age; or
(5) No person under 21 years of age shall misrepresent his or her identity or use any false identification for the purpose of purchasing or obtaining any alcoholic beverage.