If you or your child are under 21 years of age and charged with an alcohol-related offense, contact the Columbus underage drinking attorneys at Riddell Law for a free consultation.

We work diligently and aggressively to protect the rights of minors charged with alcohol-related offenses, and works to ensure that the charges brought have the least possible impact on the young person’s life and criminal record.


The State of Ohio has increased penalties for drinking and driving by underage drivers.  While adults must have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 to be charged with an OVI in Ohio, anyone under age 21 can be charged with an OVI for having a trace amount of alcohol in their system (.02 BAC).  Doug Riddell has extensive experience representing both minors and adults in DUI/OVI offenses, and can offer an affordable flat fee to help you navigate the criminal justice system for the best possible outcome.


You must be age 21 to legally drink in Ohio.  Underage consumption of alcohol is a misdemeanor and carries severe penalties:

  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Possible imprisonment
  • Fines up to $1000 plus surcharges and possible court costs
  • A misdemeanor criminal record
  • Possible community service and alcohol education classes

In every case, we first look to the availability of a diversion program.  If our client qualifies and is accepted into a diversion program in Franklin County, the charges would be dismissed and record of the charge could be expunged.  If you have been charged with underage drinking in Columbus, talk to one of our attorneys about the availability of diversion.


Using a fake driver’s license or other identification to obtain alcohol is a first-degree misdemeanor. Penalties may include:

  • Alcohol and/or substance abuse treatment program
  • Fines up to  $1000 plus surcharges and court costs
  • Possible imprisonment
  • Driver’s license suspension


Simply possessing alcoholic beverages in public or in a car can result in misdemeanor charges, fines, and possible imprisonment for anyone under 21.


In addition to criminal prosecution, students drinking underage may face further consequences for underage drinking.  For example, our attorneys represent high school and college students facing suspension from school, as well as suspension from athletic teams or other sanctions, relating to zero-tolerance alcohol policy violations.

In every alcohol-related offense, our attorneys thoroughly examine the facts of the case and advise clients on the merits of contesting the charges or negotiating a plea bargain to a lesser offense with fewer consequences.   If there are defenses available to the search (such as a warrantless search of a private home), we would explore those with the client and raise the defenses in court.  Ultimately, our goal is to minimize the impact of the charges on the young person’s life.

To begin the process and discuss representation for your Columbus, Ohio underage drinking, fake ID or other under-21 charge, call us directly at 614-361-2804, email at, or fill out the confidential contact form to the right.  

Because we know underage drinking and other under-21 charges rarely happen during 9:00-5:00 working hours, we are there to take your call after hours, on evenings, weekends, and holidays.