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A bill regarding the provision of alcohol to minors is making its way through the Missouri legislature. Testimony was taken on March 17, and no opposition to the bill was voiced. The bill would make providing alcohol to minors a felony, increasing the potential penalties from those that are currently imposed.

The Ozark County Sheriff testified in favor of the bill, as did the mother of a young man who was killed in a drunk driving accident. The woman's son was reportedly riding in a vehicle being driven by his friend at the time. The friend had been given alcohol by two adults, and the mother said it had been difficult for prosecutors to sentence the adults.

Currently, providing alcohol to a minor is a misdemeanor in the state. The change would make the penalty harsher in the event someone is injured or killed as a result of a minor's being provided with alcohol. Although no one opposed the bill, further action on it was not taken on March 17.

People who are facing criminal charges have a right to defend against the allegations. Criminal convictions bring serious penalties with them, including the potential for incarceration, fines, restitution or probation. Long after a sentence has been completed, convicted people often deal with collateral consequences associated with the conviction. They may have difficulty with being approved for housing, finding employment and obtaining student loans, depending on the charges. Those who are in such a situation may benefit by seeking the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney in the early stages. The attorney might then have the time needed to build a strong defense, including obtaining witness testimony and other evidence.

Source: CBS St. Louis, "Bill would increase penalty of an adult providing alcohol to a minor," Katie Hynes, March 18, 2015.

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