Drinking before reaching the legal age of 21 creates a temptation most teens experience at least once. By the time they're high school seniors, two-thirds of teens try alcohol according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, people between the ages of 12-20 drink about one-tenth of all alcohol consumed in the U.S. Giving in to this temptation means an increased risk of legal consequences for your teenager, including, getting arrested and charged with underage drinking.
Breaking the law in this way can have a significant impact on a young person’s life. Facing a charge of underage drinking can go on a teen’s permanent record and follow them into adulthood. It can impact college and career choices as well. Should you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to engage a knowledgeable attorney. They will work toward preventing any permanent impact on your child’s future, and help protect their rights.
Obtaining legal advice from the start can significantly impact your case, leading to the best possible outcome. Working with an attorney who has handled cases involving underage drinking helps ensure both you and your teen are prepared. It's important to know what rights and options you have as you move through your case, as well as what state-mandated consequences are in place.
The charge for underage drinking
Georgia has a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking. If your teen drinks underage and gets caught, the charge is Minor in Possession of Alcohol. For purposes of the underage drinking laws in Georgia, anyone under 21 is considered a minor, and consuming any amount of alcohol breaks the law. You do not have to have a
An officer can use any legally obtained evidence to prove you consumed alcohol. Smelling it on your breath gets you charged even if there’s not an actual bottle in sight. This type of charge can remain on an individual’s record indefinitely. It may resurface to impact future employment opportunities as well as scholarship potential when applying to college.
Potential penalties for my teen
Even with a first-time offense, penalties can include both a fine and jail time. Fines can reach up to $300 for the first charge, with repeat offenders having to pay up to $1,000. As for jail time, you may serve six months for your first offense and up to one year with a second conviction. A judge may also decide to suspend your teen’s license even with a first offense.
Should your teen find themselves in legal trouble as a result of underage drinking, the capable team at The Patterson Cozzo Law Firm can help.
Through careful evaluation of the case, they will offer advice on how to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family. The initial consultation is free, so call today to schedule an appointment.