Legal Question in Criminal Law in Iowa

My son was charged with "Legal Age providing alcohol to underage in violation of section 123.47(4) of the Iowa Criminal Code.

The affidavit by the police officers:

"On 9/17/13 Officers were conducting a shoulder taps operation at AJ's Liquor, Ames, Ia. Officers observed the defendant and another female go into the store and come out. The female did not come out with anything but the defendant had several varying types and brands of alcohol and placed them in his vehicle parked on the street in front of the store. The defendant went back inside and came out with two more glass bottles of liquor then proceeded to drive, and park in front of, (address). I observed both the defendant and the female, who was under the age of 21, get out of the vehicle and both carry alcohol to the front of the apartment complex. I stopped the two and identified myself as a Ames Police Officer. The female had a six pack of Smirnoff Ice and a small box of Bud Light Lime Beer. She was given a citation for Possession of Alcohol under the Legal Age, and the defendant was placed under arrest."

My problem is that my son didn't necessarily "provide" alcohol to a minor. She was just carrying it in the apartment complex so he did not have to make two trips. I feel this is a very gray area of the law and was even told by one of deputies when I was picking my son up from jail that I should really consult a lawyer as I could probably have this thrown out. What do you think? Personally, I want to contact the City Attorney and ask him to throw this out before it even goes to court.

Asked on 9/09/13, 8:33 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Robert Luedeman solo practitioner

The first thing you've got to deal with is 123.47(4) which states:

4. Except as otherwise provided in subsections 5 and 6, a person

who is of legal age, other than a licensee or permittee, who sells,

gives, or otherwise supplies alcoholic liquor, wine, or beer to a

person who is under legal age in violation of this section commits a

serious misdemeanor punishable by a minimum fine of five hundred


So what your son is actually charged with is "selling, giving, or otherwise supplying". "Providing" is not part of the statute and the prosecution will likely say that what your son did could be construed as giving or otherwise supplying.

The city attorney's not going to dismiss it based on your parsing of the word "provided". If you think it necessary you ought to retain the services of a competent criminal defense attorney in the area.

One might argue what you've set out in the way of a defense.

It's a homily on choosing your friends and taking your actions wisely and It's a good thing that nothing worse happened.

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Answered on 9/10/13, 8:24 am

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