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Bars, patrons busted in underage raid

Last month, the state Revenue Department issued compliance-related administrative citations to multiple bars in downtown Athens. Operatives and agents entered 26 clubs and checked IDs.

Four establishments were cited for providing alcohol to underage drinkers, and 11 patrons were issued citations in six different clubs. Of that total, 10 were charged with being unable to produce valid identification. All arrested individuals were between 17 and 20 years old, police reports indicate.

One bar owner likened the raid to "a witch hunt," and stated that the state's strict consequences for possessing fake IDs lead to people lying to the police, resulting in still another charge.

While the focus of these type of underage stings is primarily to bust the bars that flout the state's 21 and older drinking law, the ones cited for underage drinking are collateral damage. Getting arrested under those circumstances can be enough to bench a collegiate or high school athlete or cause scholarships to be revoked.

Under some school codes, simply being arrested is enough to warrant expulsion. Your employer could also fire you for an alcohol-related offense.

If you find yourself caught up in a compliance raid, you need to act swiftly and pro-actively. Politely refuse to answer questions and remain silent. As soon as possible, ask to speak to a criminal defense attorney.

Our attorneys are experienced in defending those accused of underage drinking and similar offenses. We understand that a simple lapse of judgment should not derail an otherwise promising future. We will work hard to defend you and help you clear your good name.