Is there a reason a prosecutor wouldn’t drop an underage drinking charge if there is a DWI charge as well?

UPDATED: Jan 13, 2012

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Is there a reason a prosecutor wouldn’t drop an underage drinking charge if there is a DWI charge as well?

I’ve heard that since the DWI far consumes the underage drinking, it is possible that if someone pleads guilty to the DWI (accepting Level 5 charges), they’ll drop the underage drinking charge as part of a plea bargain. Besides factors specific to individual cases, are there reasons a prosecutor might refuse to do this?

Asked on January 13, 2012 under Criminal Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Underage drinking may be less serious than DWI/DUI, but it's a completely different charge, rather than a lesser included charge or a something which is de facto (even if not officially) a lesser version of DWI. Whether you are an underage drinker has nothing to do with you are DWI, and vice versa. So, for example, say somone broke into a house to rob it and in the process killed someone--he'd be charged with both manslaughter/murder and with breaking and entering, since they are wholly separate offenses.

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