Underage drinking is a serious problem in Georgia, as it is in many other parts of the United States. It poses several risks to young people, including a higher risk of alcohol poisoning, accidental injuries, and poor decision-making. It can lead to negative consequences, especially if convicted of related crimes like Driving Under the Influence.
Penalties for Drinking Underage
The penalties for underage drinking in Georgia can be mild or severe depending. Specific penalties will depend on the circumstances of the offense, such as whether the offender has any prior convictions, the amount of alcohol involved, and whether anyone was injured or killed because of the offense. If you are caught drinking alcohol under the legal drinking age of 21, you can face a range of punishments, including fines, community service, and even jail time. First-time offenders may be treated kindlier by the system, assuming no other charges. Underage drinking is also called Minor in Possession.
Activities while drinking often can result in multiple charges. For example, if a young person, while intoxicated, vandalized a house, or assaulted someone, they could be additionally charged for the crimes of vandalism or assault.
Drinking While Under the Age of 21
Georgia law makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol, possess alcohol, or consume alcohol. It also makes it illegal for anyone to furnish alcohol to someone who is underage, or to allow an underage person to consume alcohol on their property.
Additionally, a conviction is embarrassing for the individual and their family. It can impact a young person’s mental health. It can affect the ability to get a job, school performance, and social standing among peers. Being convicted can have lasting and unfortunate consequences for young people.
Georgia Resources and Information
If you or someone you love has problems with alcohol or substance abuse, there is help here in Georgia. It is important for every Georgian’s safety that young people follow the law and care for their health.
The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety website provides information for young people on underage drinking and driving. Its Young Adult Program promotes “education and awareness to young adults about highway safety issues, such as but not limited to; underage drinking, impaired driving, destructive decisions, and other high-risk behaviors, in order to decrease crashes, injuries, and fatalities.”
The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities provides information on substance abuse, including tips for parents and resources for young people who want to avoid alcohol. It also includes where to get help and programs under their department.
Underage Drinking is a Problem Nationally
Nationally, underage drinking is a major problem, and the statistics paint a troubling picture. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about one in five high school students report binge drinking (defined as consuming five or more drinks in a row) in the past month. This puts young people at risk of a range of negative consequences, including impaired driving, sexual assault, and drug use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that underage drinking contributes to a range of long-term health problems, including liver disease, cancer, and mental health disorders.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that certain countermeasures have been put in place to address the problem, such as in 1998 when the drinking age was raised to 21. Furthermore, “Zero-tolerance laws in all States reinforce this message by setting a maximum BAC limit of less than .02 g/dL or less for drivers under 21. This effectively prohibits driving after drinking any amount of alcohol.” Regardless of these countermeasures, young people may participate in underage drinking and find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
If you or someone you love has been arrested for underage drinking or crimes related to drinking, you need a good defense attorney.
Call Vic Wiegand, Attorney at Law — Leading Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney
The Law Office of Vic Wiegand, Esq. is a full-service criminal defense law practice, committed to protecting our client’s interests and protecting their rights. We focus on client-centered quality representation. We believe everyone is entitled to respect, discretion, and an expert defense.
With nearly 20 years of experience practicing Criminal Defense Law, attorney Wiegand helps his clients when it comes to getting charges dropped or pleaded down. He understands the need to resolve some cases quickly and discreetly without the need for a trial or publicity. Yet, when necessary, he is comfortable and experienced in appearing in court with a proven record of achieving excellent results.
If you have been charged with a crime, call us at (770) 886-4646 or schedule a free consultation using our online form. We have offices located in Cumming, Georgia, just 40 miles northeast of Atlanta in Forsyth County.