The Consequences of Underage Drinking
Call a Columbus DUI lawyer if your child is caught illegally drinking
When you’re between the ages of 18 and 20, you may begin to find yourself in more and more social situations where alcohol is present. Despite the fact that the legal age for drinking alcohol is 21, you’re at a point in your life where rebellion comes easy, and most rules seem like arbitrary ways of keeping you from having fun.
Besides, 18 is the legal drinking age in many other countries. And you can buy smokes and join the army at age 18, right?
The problem is, regardless of how sound these opinions may be, if you’re caught buying, possessing or drinking alcohol underage, you’ll still be subject to penalties.
While underage consumption is the offense we’re most familiar with when it comes to drinking under 21, there are several other crimes related to drinking or possessing alcohol as a minor:
- Underage possession
Even if you aren’t drunk or actively drinking, you can still be charged with underage possession if you’re under 21 and alcohol is found in your dorm room or in your vehicle. Even if you’re picking up alcohol for someone of age, you can still get hit with this charge.
- Underage purchase with fake ID
If you manage to purchase alcohol with a fake ID, or just because you were able to convince a vendor that you’re old enough, you haven’t skirted the laws–you’ve broken them. The act of purchasing alcohol while underage is a crime in and of itself, and if caught, you could also face charges for possession of a fake ID, which can even include identity theft.
- Underage DUI
If you’re under 21 and you’re caught driving under the influence of alcohol, the penalties can be two-fold. In addition to the underage consumption charges, you can also be charged with an OVI and might end up losing your license for six months to three years.
- Providing alcohol to minors
If you’re over 21 and you provide alcohol to a minor, it’s illegal unless you’re their parent or guardian, or you are their of-age spouse. That means you can’t buy alcohol for underage friends, underage siblings or underage friends of your child.
- Additional charges
In addition to your underage drinking charge, you may face extra penalties if you were also disorderly, violent, damaging property or if you attempted to lie about your identity after being caught.
The penalties for these crimes can vary anywhere between a $150 fine and up to six months in jail, depending on the nature and severity of your crime.
Call a Columbus DUI lawyer
Many minors get caught drinking underage on college campuses. Sports events, tailgating and fraternity parties make it fairly easy for minors to acquire alcohol. However, police have increased their presence on campus during such events, making it more likely that underage drinkers will get caught and arrested.
If you or your child has been charged with underage drinking, an experienced Columbus DUI lawyer may be able to get the charges minimized or completely dismissed. At Yavitch & Palmer, DUIs and alcohol related cases are one of our specialties. We’ll listen to your side of the story, investigate the circumstances surrounding your case, and work to get you the best possible outcome.