Your Teenage Son Has Been Charged With Drunk and Disorderly Conduct!
The phone rings at 1:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. You are alarmed, but not particularly disturbed because you know your 16-year old son is safe. He is staying over with his best friend, they love to play video games. But… it is the police. Apparently, your son went to an unsupervised party has been charged with drunk and disorderly conduct. A rush of panic, and some guilt for not checking his plans out better come over you. You hurriedly get dressed and head out to retrieve him. Questions race through your mind. Is he okay? What do we need to change at home? Will this one mistake jeopardize his future success?
The party was at one of his friend’s house in your hometown of Northfield, whose parent’s were out of town. Your son is obviously drunk and has been involved in a fistfight with one of the other party goers. He is being charged with underage drinking and disorderly conduct as a juvenile. At least the police will let him go home in the custody of his parents.
Minnesota Juvenile Law
In Minnesota, an adult cannot be charged with public drunkenness. It is considered a social disorder and not a crime. However, underage drinking is a chargeable offense. This is covered in the Minnesota statute 340A.503 Persons Under 21; Illegal Acts, which states it is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 to consume any alcoholic beverages. The charge is a misdemeanor with the possibility of both 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, or one or the other. However, it can stay on the record for when he is filling out college applications and scholarships, and that first job.
Disorderly conduct is a charge that is common. It is defined in the Minnesota statute 609.72.
Whoever does any of the following in a public or private place, including on a school bus, knowing, or having reasonable grounds to know that it will, or will tend to, alarm, anger or disturb others or provoke an assault or breach of the peace, is guilty of disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor:
(1) engages in brawling or fighting; or
(2) disturbs an assembly or meeting, not unlawful in its character; or
(3) engages in offensive, obscene, abusive, boisterous, or noisy conduct or in offensive, obscene, or abusive language tending reasonably to arouse alarm, anger, or resentment in others.
It is again a misdemeanor with the possibility of 90 days in jail and $1,000 fine or the sentencing of one or the other. Also the same applies to the possibility of it staying on the teen’s record even after the age of 21.
What Action Should Be Taken?
1. The teen or parents should not make any statement to the police. All that needs to be done is to give identifying information.
2. Contact an attorney.
3. Have your attorney present for any questioning by the police.
You will be given a court date, but it may not be for months in the future, depending on how booked up the juvenile court system is at the time.
Undoubtedly, you as the parent’s are going through a lot of mental and emotional anguish. You may be tempted to go to court without representation because it is “just a misdemeanor”. Without representation, “just a misdemeanor” can evoke maximum penalties because it is just his word against law enforcement.
Teenagers are known to push the boundaries and experiment. This is not an unusual developmental stage. However, when a chargeable mistake is made the courts are obligated to make a decision on the charge. Hopefully, this incident will be enough to keep him from making the same mistake again.
Contact Hero, Jorstad & Jacobsen Law Firm Today
We have an office in Northfield, Minnesota, and will give you fair representation in court to obtain the least of penalty, and to minimize the offense staying on his record.
Do not try to fight this by yourself. Contact us immediately!