With college students preparing the return to the District in droves, D.C. defense lawyers will see a corresponding spike in those arrested for underage consumption as well as those who are arrested for fake IDs in Washington and the surrounding area.
The official charge is misrepresentation of age. If you are taken to the police station, you could be booked into a holding cell. The misdemeanor charge is punishable by a $300 fine and a 90-day suspension of your driver’s license. It’s also not unusual for defendants to also face charges of underage consumption, disorderly conduct or other similar charges.
Recently, the College Media Network reported that college students have propelled the District’s population past 600,000 for the first time in decades. In all, there are seven major colleges and universities in the area. And enrollment is on the rise. George Washington University’s enrollment has increased from 17,000 to 20,000 students in the last decade while enrollment at American University is expected to grow by 3,000 students before the next Census.
Too often, students think a quick guilty plea is the best way to put the incident behind them. Experienced District of Columbia defense attorneys would disagree. Having a conviction on your criminal record can have consequences for years to come — including loss of scholarships or financial aid, and the inability to hold certain jobs or difficulty in obtaining certain occupational licenses. Just the fact that you could be forced to disclose the conviction on job applications or to a future employer is reason enough to fight the charge.
The District can charge you with just about anything. All that matters is what you are convicted of in a court of law. Simply hiring an attorney and forcing the government to deal with you could be enough to obtain a reduction or dismissal of the charges. We understand money is a consideration — we were college students, too. But the cost of defense is money well spent compared to the cost of having a criminal conviction on your record.
An experienced attorney may be able to negotiate community service or diversion, in cases where a reduction or dismissal of the case is not won at the start. Successful completion could result in the charges being dismissed. Another option is a deferred prosecution agreement or deferred sentencing agreement. Either can keep the charge off your record.
If you are a college student facing charges, including using a fake ID in Washington D.C. or underage consumption or DUI charges, contact the Law Office Of Scrofano Law, PC for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 202-765-3175 or fill out our online contact form. Visa, MasterCard and Discover cards accepted.