It is a Saturday night, and you are out with two of your favorite friends on campus, just having a good time and enjoying life. A few drinks, some laughs, a pizza, and texting random friends with random thoughts. Maybe a drive to get some more beer…and suddenly everything in your life changes for the worst and it all happens in a flash. One minute everyone is laughing and talking and the radio is loudly reminding you of your favorite artist, and the next someone is in the emergency room with a life-changing injury or worse.
This is a real scenario. Each year thousands of teens are seriously injured, even killed, due to America's problem with underage drinking and driving. From injuries that require lifelong rehabilitation and serious quality of life changes to death, this senseless tragedy can easily be prevented by knowing the facts about underage drinking and driving in the United States to avoid DUI arrests, injuries, criminal records, fatalities, property damage, and more.
Fact #1: It is against the law to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is true whether you are sixteen or sixty, and it is never a good idea to take a ride after you have been drinking or while you are under the influence of certain medications. If an officer observes unsafe driving practices, or the same are reported to the police, you could be arrested and asked to perform field sobriety tests.
Fact #2: It is a crime to give alcohol to someone under the legal drinking age. In the United States, you cannot consume alcohol if you are under the age of twenty-one. If you, or someone you care about, give alcohol to a minor, it could be a reason for a separate offense. The minor consuming the alcohol could also get in a lot of trouble, especially if he or she drives afterward.
Fact #3: Being underage will not get you any special considerations from a judge, and could cause even more problems than a first offender over the legal drinking age. There are many sentencing options that deal with the types of penalties that each convicted offender receives, and these are known as aggravating factors. Being a minor is one such factor, and could create additional fines, longer loss of driving privileges, or separate charges.