Legal Question in Criminal Law in Iowa

Possession of Alcohol as a Minor

My 18 year old daughter was charged with possession while sitting in a vehicle with a friend. They had not drank anything at that time but there was alcohol that she knew about in the car. If she cannot afford to pay a lawyer what options does she have to take care of this herself. Would a deferred judgement be a good option, can this be done by mail without appearing? Can she request community service instead of a fine?

Asked on 11/20/06, 11:18 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Robert Luedeman solo practitioner

Re: Possession of Alcohol as a Minor

If she was in the car she's in possession.

If she cannot afford a lawyer she can get a court appointed one although due to the non serious nature of the charge this is not a big deal. A deferred judgment is a pretty good deal, and she probably cannot do this by remote control. She can ask for community service.

On the other hand if she keeps her nose clean for two years she may petition the court to exonerate the judgment which is the same effect as a deferred judgment. Here's the language.

5. Upon the expiration of two years following conviction for a

violation of this section, a person may petition the court to

exonerate the person of the conviction, and if the person has had no

other criminal convictions, other than simple misdemeanor violations

of chapter 321 during the two-year period, the person shall be deemed

exonerated of the offense as a matter of law. The court shall enter

an order exonerating the person of the conviction, and ordering that

the record of the conviction be expunged by the clerk of the district


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Answered on 11/20/06, 12:48 pm

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