Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws 3-8-9, transportation of alcohol by a minor is defined as any person who has not reached his or her twenty-first (21st) birthday and who operates a motor vehicle upon the public highways while having liquor or intoxicating beverages in containers, opened or unopened, in any part of the vehicle. The law even applies to unopened bottles in the trunk of a vehicle. A person can still be charged and convicted of transportation of alcohol by a minor even if the alcohol was lawfully purchased by someone twenty-one (21) years or older.
There are two (2) affirmative defenses to transportation of alcohol. First, that the minor driver is related to the other people in the motor vehicle. The types of family relationships are numerous and include parent, legal guardian, or another adult who is over the age of twenty-one (21) years and related, whether by blood, adoption or marriage, to the operator, including brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, uncle, aunt, great uncle or great aunt. Second, that they are transporting alcohol as part of their job. The law states this section does not apply to persons between the ages of sixteen (16) and twenty-one (21) who are transporting unopened alcoholic beverages in the course of their employment.
If neither affirmative defense is applicable, the penalties if convicted include:
(1) For a first offense, a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) and have his or her license to operate a motor vehicle suspended for not more than thirty (30) days;
(2) For a second offense, a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500) and have his or her license to operate a motor vehicle suspended for not more than ninety (90) days;
(3) For a third or subsequent offense, a fine of no less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than nine hundred and fifty dollars ($950) and have his or her license to operate a motor vehicle suspended for one year.
Due to Attorney Humphrey's skill and experience with underage alcohol offenses, the charges were dismissed and both our client are immediately eligible to have the charge expunged from their record.
If you or a family member has been charged with transportation of alcohol by a minor, use of a fake ID or underage possession of alcohol, please allow Attorney Robert H. Humphrey's reputation, experience and skill to successfully guide you through the legal process. Please contact Attorney Robert H. Humphrey, Esq., at 401-816-5862 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.