Across the United States, tens of thousands of underage citizens will drink every year. Some teenagers may think that, just because they are drinking within the safety of a home, it is okay to do. However, in many states, underage drinking could lead to a misdemeanor charge due to the fact that the legal drinking age is 21 in all states.
Juvenile drinking is sometimes known as a status offense, which means that it is illegal for a minor but not for an adult. In states across the country, teenagers actually become an adult at 18, which makes for confusion on these laws. This means that, in some states, a teenager who is over 18 and drinking could either be arrested as an adult, or they could be released into their parent’s custody if they are under 18. The arresting officer usually has discretion on how they want to charge the crime. These charges will usually be based on where the juvenile was drinking and who they were drinking with. If they were 18 and giving alcohol to 13-year-olds, they may be charged harshly. However, if they were drinking in their parent’s basement alone, they usually will not be charged.
What many juvenile offenders of underage drinking do not understand is that there could be penalties that follow you for quite some time when you choose to drink underage. Younger teenagers could actually face restrictions on their driver’s licenses, or sustain fines and light jail time – which could impact many of the things they do in life.
Juveniles are not the only ones who must worry about the outcome of these crimes – adults can also be charged. If an adult knowingly served alcohol to a juvenile and something happened because of it, they can be charged with a criminal offense. In fact, parents are not allowed to consent to another child drinking under their roof. Especially in cases where a juvenile is killed due to this recklessness, these crimes come to light. This is why you should call us today if you have questions concerning a juvenile crime and need our help.