Underage Drinking

Many states restrict or outright prohibit the consumption, possession, and purchase or alcohol by any person under the legal drinking age (typically 21), although there may be exceptions specific to each state. In Iowa City, for example, it is still allowed under city ordinance Possession of Alcohol Under the Legal Age (PAULA) for minors to drink alcohol in the company of a parent or guardian but only in their own home, although a recently proposed law is aiming to void this exception. In Texas, a minor may consume alcohol in the company of an adult parent, guardian, or spouse.

When these underage drinking laws are violated, the minor may face criminal charges, and any adult other than those authorized under state law who is found to have supplied a minor with alcohol may also be prosecuted. In most states, establishments which sell or serve alcohol may be penalized for providing a minor with access to alcohol.

While the penalties for underage drinking law violations are not excessive, being convicted of even a simple misdemeanor still means that the defendant acquires a criminal record. As pointed out in an article on the website of Arenson Law Group, PC in Cedar Rapids, for anyone, but especially young people, a criminal record is like a rock tied around the neck. It can affect job opportunities and future endeavors. It will weigh you down and you will have to drag it around for the rest of your life.

Underage drinking is unfortunately rampant in the US, and is the cause of many preventable car accidents. This is why most states are imposing more restrictive laws to discourage it and to halt an alarming trend. On the other hand, these laws and the zeal with which law enforcement carries out their mandate can make it very easy for anyone to get arrested. When this happens, it is important for the defendant to engage the services of a good lawyer who has a thorough knowledge of state laws and experience in handling underage drinking cases to avoid a conviction. At the very least, a good criminal defense may lead to probation or deferred adjudication, especially for first-time offenders.

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