Regardless of their family background, upbringing, or parental care, children will make mistakes. As younger people mature, they tend to want to try new things. Even kids who have been “good” their whole lives may find themselves in situations where they experiment with alcohol. When an underage person consumes alcohol, not only are they committing a crime, they are putting themselves and others at risk. Fortunately, Utah is one of the nation’s lowest reported states of individuals drinking alcohol while they are under the age of 21. When looking at the statistics, roughly 10 percent of kids between the ages of 15 to 17 will try alcohol. These numbers jump to approximately 24% in the age group of 18 to 20. The number of deaths associated with underage drinking equates to roughly 32 deaths each year in Utah.
What are the charges for underage drinking in Utah?
It should come as no surprise that it is illegal for minors to consume, purchase, attempt to purchase or possess alcohol. It is also illegal for anyone over the age of 21 to purchase alcohol and distribute these materials to minors. When a minor consume or possess alcohol, they will be charged with a misdemeanor violation. The first violation (Class B Misdemeanor) can be meet with up to a one-year suspension of their driver’s license. They may also face a fine of $1000 and up to 6 months in jail. A subsequent offense (Class A Misdemeanor) can be meet with a 2-year suspension of driving privileges, a $2500 fine, and up to one full year in jail.
Are there any exceptions to these laws?
There are a few relatively rare situations in which it is legal in Utah for a minor to consume alcohol. Someone over the age of 18 may consume alcohol for medicinal purposes if their parent or legal guardian has provided the alcohol. A legal professional can also prescribe medicinal alcohol. It is important to observe local laws and regulations before alcohol is purchased or supplied to a minor for medicinal purposes.
Similarly, alcohol may be consumed and provided to minors for religious purposes. Some laws dictate when alcohol can be consumed as part of religious practice. It is important to follow local laws so that an arrest doesn’t happen when alcohol is consumed as part of a religious ceremony or practice.
Contact an attorney
If a minor has been charged with underage alcohol consumption or possession, it is important to mitigate the repercussions as much as possible. For most, their primary goal is to avoid a loss of their driver’s license or possible jail time. If you have been charged in Utah, consider calling Utah Personal Injury Attorneys at 801-987-8409 to speak with a legal professional and schedule a consultation.