The countdown to Super Bowl XLIX continues as throngs of fans head out to Super Bowl Central which has taken over about 12 blocks in downtown Phoenix. According to azcentral.com, Phoenix along with state liquor officials have approved public consumption of alcohol within an enclosed 9-block area of downtown Phoenix, enabling folks to enjoy the street festivities with a cocktail in hand. This is said to be the largest special event liquor license ever issued in downtown Phoenix and to ensure the safety of everyone, security will be extremely tight. Anyone wanting to consume alcohol in this area will be required to show their ID, wear wristbands, and stay within the 9-block perimeter which will be secured with temporary barricades. Officers from Phoenix Police Department, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) and the AZ Department of Liquor License and Control will be conducting enforcement efforts and ticketing violators for drinking violations such as Minor in Consumption / Minor in Possession and Underage Drinking as well as any other criminal violations ranging from Disorderly Conduct, Assault, Weapon and Firearm Violations, and Drug Violations. There will also be increased DUI enforcement in and around Phoenix so if you do plan to consume alcohol, be sure to designate a sober driver or utilize taxi service, Uber, or the light rail to avoid the harsh consequences of a DUI charge in Arizona.
Some of the most common alcohol violations we see with large events around the valley include, Underage Drinking, Underage DUI, False ID and Minor in Consumption (MIC) / Minor in Possession (MIP) violations. Arizona has a "zero tolerance" law which prohibits anyone under the age of 21 to drive with any trace of alcohol in their system. If you are under the age of 21 and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or above .08%, you may also be charged with DUI in addition to Underage Drinking. The penalties for some of the common underage drinking violations are outlined here:
A.R.S. § 4-241L – (Fake ID) "A person who is under the legal drinking age and who misrepresents the person's age to any person by means of a written instrument of identification with the intent to induce a person to sell, serve, give or furnish spirituous liquor contrary to law is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor." The maximum punishment for a class 1 misdemeanor is up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
A.R.S. § 4-241M – "A person who is under the legal drinking age and who solicits another person to purchase, sell, give, serve or furnish spirituous liquor contrary to law is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor." The maximum punishment for a class 3 misdemeanor is up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
A.R.S. § 4-244(34) – (Underage Drink and Drive) "It is unlawful…For a person under twenty-one years of age to drive or be in physical control of a motor vehicle while there is any spirituous liquor in the person's body." The maximum punishment is up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.00
A.R.S. § 4-244(9) – (Minor in Consumption / Minor in Possession) "It is unlawful…for a person under the legal drinking age to buy, receive, have in the person's possession or consume spirituous liquor…" The maximum punishment for a class 1 misdemeanor is up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
In addition to possible exposure to jail time and significant fines, underage drinking violations can also result in license suspensions of up to two years, probation, community work service, a criminal record and other unanticipated consequences. Before making any decisions in your case, it is critical to seek the advice of legal counsel to ensure you understand your legal options and the consequences of a conviction.
Mr. Buckallew is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Law and focuses his practice primarily on DUI and Criminal Defense in Phoenix and surrounding areas. He has significant experience in litigating all types of DUI and Underage Drinking violations, including Minor in Consumption / Minor in Possession, Fake ID, Underage Drink and Drive, 1st Time DUI, Extreme DUI, Felony DUI and any other criminal or DUI charge in the state of Arizona. Contact the Firm today for a free evaluation of your Phoenix DUI or criminal case.
**This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact the Firm to schedule a consultation regarding your case.