JUVENILE MINOR IN POSSESSION OF ALCOHOL CHARGE AVOIDED

On February 10, 2017, BH, a sixteen year old student at a prestigious private school, decided to have a party. BH invited a number of school age friends – and of course they brought along a few other friends one of whom brought alcohol to the party. They all drank for several hours. One of the young girls at the party apparently consumed some drugs. BH became very drunk and ultimately went out the back door of his house and collapsed in the snow. The girl left the party and went to a local store and collapsed in the store. She had to be brought to a local hospital. The police were summonsed to the house by neighbors. The rest of the party-goers scattered. The police found BH collapsed in the snow and brought him to the hospital. After investigation the police determined that the girl who collapsed in the store had been at the party and had consumed alcohol and drugs at the party. BH had hosted the party. Subsequently BH received a Notice of Complaint Application from the Essex County Juvenile Court. The police had applied for a juvenile complaint for minor in possession of alcohol against BH. BH was fortunate that the police did not charge him with furnishing alcohol to a minor (the girl). BH’s parents came to Massachusetts (they live out of state). BH and his parents met with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover.

Attorney Lewin took a detailed statement of the facts of the case from BH. It became clear the the girl had brought the drugs to the party herself and had consumed the drugs without any help or encouragement from BH. Attorney Lewin met with the police prosecutor from the town involved and advocated for the charge against BH to be “diverted” out of the juvenile justice system. The Essex County District Attorney’s Office – to their credit – has created the Essex County Juvenile Diversion Program. The program is designed to prevent first time offenders from getting a criminal/juvenile record by diverting the case out of the criminal/juvenile justice system.

On February 28, 2017 BH, BH’s parents, and Attorney Lewin appeared in the Essex County Juvenile Court, Lawrence Division, for a hearing on whether or not a juvenile delinquency complaint would be issued against BH. BH is an honor student with a brilliant future and the last thing he needed was a criminal/juvenile record. Attorney Lewin had thoroughly prepared an argument to advocate for the diversion of the case. In addition, before the hearing date Attorney Lewin had met face to face with the director of the juvenile diversion program to discuss the case with her and to seek her approval of BH’s referral to the program. At the hearing before the Clerk-Magistrate of the Juvenile Court Attorney Lewin advocated firmly for diversion of the case. The police were on board and the people from the diversion program were on board. The Clerk-Magistrate adopted Attorney Lewin’s proposal and BH’s case was referred to the juvenile diversion program.

Attorney Lewin pointed out to BH and his parents that as a result of this disposition:

  • BH was NOT arrested.
  • BH was NOT charged with any juvenile or criminal offense.
  • BH was NOT convicted of any criminal offense; BH was NOT adjudicated a juvenile delinquent of any offense.
  • NO court process issued against BH. (Court process includes a summons to appear in Court, a warrant for arrest, a criminal complaint, or a juvenile complaint.)
  • BH did NOT HAVE to appear in Court. (A hearing before a Clerk-Magistrate is a voluntary appearance.)
  • NO criminal or juvenile record has been created as a result of this case. If a criminal and/or juvenile record check is run on BH it will come back NO record. This case will NOT show up.
  • BH will NEVER have to disclose the existence of this case to anyone.

Attorney Lewin’s strong working relationship with the local police and the people running the Juvenile Diversion program and the Court personnel paid dividends for BH.