Here in North Carolina, lawmakers and courts take a very dim view of underage drinking. In fact, our state enforces a zero-tolerance policy for those accused of the crime.
According to NC Law 18B, those under 21 charged with possessing, drinking, buying or attempting to buy alcohol face conviction on a Class 1 misdemeanor. It is also a crime to possess and distribute fake identification cards or allow someone else to borrow their legitimate ID or driver’s license.
But wait — there’s more
While it is a crime to have alcohol while under 21, if that young person then gets behind the wheel of a car after consuming any alcohol whatsoever, they face additional penalties, including an immediate month-long revocation period of their driver’s license before their case is even adjudicated.
Parents have more influence than they realize
While it may often seem as if your older teen or 20-year-old has no use for your pearls of wisdom, research has shown that parental words of advice do sink in even when there is no acknowledgment from their offspring.
Make sure that the lines of communication are open even before driving is an issue. Let your children know that you will come to pick them up or arrange their safe transport home at any time their safety may be at risk, e.g., they succumbed to peer pressure and had some drinks and need a ride home.
If your child gets charged
Some parents believe that letting their kids deal with the legal system on their own will teach them a lesson. It may, but that lesson might not be the one you want them to learn. Their futures could hang in the balance, with a conviction forever closing the doors to certain career options, educational opportunities and even housing options.
Learn more about the best defense strategies to better equip your child to fight these charges in court.