While the facts on the health implications of underage drinking are startling, there is also the potential for serious legal ramifications. Under current NC Law 18B, a person under the age of 21 caught purchasing, attempting to purchase, consuming, or possessing alcohol will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. In addition, obtaining or distributing a fake ID, or letting someone borrow a legitimate license, is a criminal offense. Sentencing is left to the judge’s discretion.
North Carolina takes a zero-tolerance stance against drivers who are under the legal drinking age but drank and then got behind the wheel. Any amount of alcohol will result in an immediate 30-day pretrial revocation of their driver’s license. If an underage drinking driver refuses to take a sobriety test, they could be convicted of driving after drinking if the smell of alcohol was on their breath. If convicted, the Division of Motor Vehicles can revoke that person’s driver’s license.
“People under age 21 simply cannot drive with any alcohol or illegally-used drugs in their systems – period.”
Now’s the time to talk with young people about underage drinking.