The use of alcohol by those under the age of 21 is a bad thing for a few reasons. First, it’s illegal. That means that those who are caught face charges related to underage drinking. Another reason is because it can lead to trouble with substance abuse. Third, it can have an immediate impact on their health.
Alcohol abuse is the most common form of substance abuse in teenagers and children. In fact, it is estimated that at least a third of teens have had a single alcoholic drink by the time they reach 15. By 18, at least 60% of teens have had an alcoholic beverage (beyond just a few sips).
Teens are at risk of binging, which can cause life-threatening symptoms
Teens are more likely to binge drink than adults are, according to the American Psychiatric Association. That means that they’ll sit down and drink at least five beverages on a single occasion (male) or four on a single occasion (female). That’s enough to reach or exceed the .08% blood alcohol concentration that is the adult limit in America.
How does underage alcohol use affect teens and young adults?
There are a few exceptions, but in most cases, drinking under the age of 21 is illegal. Most states also have zero tolerance laws, which means that even a small amount of alcohol in the blood is illegal.
In 2011, alcohol intoxication was linked to the motor-vehicle-collision-related deaths of 1,580 individuals under the age of 21. Thousands were injured in similar cases.
What should you do if you are caught drinking or are stopped for a DUI after drinking while underage?
As with anyone who is accused of a crime, it is important to reach out to a legal professional to discuss a defense. There are often alternatives, such as substance abuse counseling, that could take the place of a prison term or other sentence. Your attorney will help you negotiate a plea deal and work to have the charges dropped.
Teens and young adults who are tried and convicted face trouble in the future. They may have difficulty finding a job or being able to get the financial support they need to attend college or a university. It’s best to develop a strong defense now, so that a conviction can be avoided or the penalties associated with it can be limited as much as possible.