|What is your teen doing this summer?|
Summer Time and Alcohol-Related Crimes: What Your Teen Needs to Know About Under Age DrinkingThe summer is here which means the “party season” is now in full force. And while the time off of school is a great way for teenagers to rejuvenate and have some fun, those who are thinking about partaking in underage drinking this summer should think twice before doing so—underage drinking is a crime and can result in jail time, pricey fines, probation and can result in death.
In fact, according to experts May through August are the most deadliest months for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 due to underage drinking and driving. While you can’t watch your teens like a hawk at these summer parties, you can warn them of the repercussions that may arise if they decide to participate in underage drinking. Even you, the parent, can in trouble for giving your under age teen “access” to alcohol. With that said, to learn some the different alcohol-related crimes and to learn the consequences your teen (or you) may face, continue reading below.
Minor in Possession (MPI)
If a person who is under the legal drinking age is caught consuming an alcoholic beverage, appears to be intoxicated due to alcohol remnants on one’s breath, or is caught with an open or even an unopened container of alcohol, he or she is breaking the law. While each state has its own regulations, typically if a juvenile has a blood alcohol content of a mere .01, he or she can be charged with a misdemeanor offense, which is a crime punishable up to a $500 ticket, six months of jail time, and up to six months of license suspension (even if he or she is not caught in a moving vehicle); those who are under 17 years of age can have their license suspended for a longer period of time. However, if he or she is a first offender, chances are he or she will only need to pay a hefty fine and register for an alcohol awareness program. A minor may have to undergo probation as well, but that heavily depends on the circumstances and whether he or she is a first offender or not. Note that an MPI can possibly affect your teen’s chances of getting accepted into college or graduate school.
MPI & Driving Under the Influence
Just about every state has a zero tolerance law when it comes to drinking and driving, but minors are subject to experience even more fierce consequences. If a minor is caught driving behind the wheel and is intoxicated, her or she is committing a crime. Typically it is considered a misdemeanor if no one is injured, but if someone is harmed or the worse scenario occurs (someone is killed) the crime will be considered a felony and punishment will double. But if a minor is a first offender and no one is injured, he or she can expect a punishment of up to a $1,000 fine, up to 30 days in jail, and up to a one year of driver’s license suspension. Additional punishment may include the installation of an ignition interlock device on his or her vehicle, registration for an alcohol awareness program, community service, and and/or probation. Like with an MPI, a DUI can really affect your teen’s acceptance to college or graduate school.
Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor
If you are the type of parent that if given a choice would rather your teen drink under your supervision so that you can have a watchful eye, know that you may get into trouble as well, especially if you allow their friends to condone in the same behavior. This is because those that over the age of 21 and freely serve or purchase minors alcohol are committing a crime. Even if you give your teen and his or friend’s easy access to alcoholic beverages—meaning your alcohol is just right there in the open for the taking or you give your teen permission to throw a party and while you’re locked upstairs in your room your teen and friends are boozing it up downstairs—you could be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Although just a misdemeanor (if no one is injured) you can be ticketed up to $1,000 and spend up to 6 months in jail.
Nancy Farrell is a freelance writer and blogger. She regularly contributes to criminal justice schools, which discusses about child abuse, human rights, divorce, and crime related articles. Questions or comments can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.