We sometimes see the most obvious consequences of underage drinking in the news. People under the legal drinking age get liquor somehow, drink it, and then try to drive. Accident scenes are horrific, with serious injuries and loss of life all too common occurrences. Other consequences are less deadly but no less impactful on a young person’s life. If you are a young person who thinks underage drinking is no big deal or an adult with at-risk loved ones, read on to learn more about underage drinking.
North Carolina Underage Drinking Laws
Several activities young people find ‘interesting’ are definitely against the law. For example, it is unlawful for anyone under age 21 to:
- buy or attempt to buy alcohol beverages;
- use fake identification or someone else’s identification to buy alcohol;
- drive while drinking or after drinking alcohol.
Please keep in mind that young drivers do not have to be intoxicated to be charged with a crime. North Carolina has a zero tolerance when it comes to underage drinking. Young people might be convicted for any reading above 0.00 in a blood alcohol test. Also, just having breath that smells of alcohol can lead to charges.
What happens if law enforcement catches someone for underage drinking?
These are some of the things that might happen if you break underage drinking laws:
- Your driver’s license could be suspended.
- Your conviction will be reported to the Division of Motor Vehicles.
- You will probably face a higher insurance bill.
- Punishment could include payment of fines, court fees, attorneys’ fees, and jail time.
Some young drivers combine underage drinking with driving. While driving while impaired, they might:
- Drive recklessly and get a ticket.
- Be involved in an automobile accident.
- Cause injury to other people, as well as property damage.
- Cause the death of other drivers and passengers.
Underage drinking is no joke. A young person who drinks alcohol is more susceptible to:
- Problems at school;
- Fighting, physical assault, and homicide;
- Unwanted and unprotected sexual activity;
- Using other drugs;
- Long-lasting harm to brain development; and
- Death because of alcohol poisoning.
Under North Carolina law, people under the legal drinking age who drink and then drive must attend mandatory court hearings. We strongly encourage you to get legal counsel before trying to handle this yourself.
Have You Been Charged with Underage Drinking?
You can consider it a wake-up call. While pondering the potential consequences of your underage drinking, you still have to deal with the legal system. It is best if you talk to an attorney who understands how to defend an underage drinking charge.
As a former prosecutor, Attorney Leslie Craft has the experience you need to deal with traffic violations. Ms. Craft’s goal is always to help her clients get past their legal problems and get on with their lives.
To schedule a free personal consultation, call Craft Law Offices at (252) 752-0297 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. My offices are located in Greenville, Morehead City, and Rocky Mount for your convenience.