Walnut Creek police are launching a “shoulder tap” program among the city’s stores to discourage underage drinking. The legal drinking age in California is 21, and any adult who buys alcohol for minors may be charged with a crime for furnishing alcoholic beverages or hosting underage drinking parties. Minors who are pulled over with any alcohol in their systems may also be charged under California DUI laws.
The “shoulder tap” programs involved using minors enrolled in the police academy. These young men and women attempted to coax adults into purchasing for them. Police found that adults at each of the five stores targeted refused, and some threatened to call the police on the young people.
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Many minors have used false identification for purposes of obtaining alcohol at local stores in the past few years or have attempted to persuade adults to buy it for them. Law enforcement authorities encourage parents to discuss the consequences of alcohol purchase and use with young people, especially as it relates to loss of driving privileges. The threat of losing a driver’s license is often a powerful motivator to stop young people from drinking.
Both minors and adults who are accused of driving under the influence of alcohol may face serious criminal charges. Minors can lose their driver’s licenses and be forced to perform community service or even spend time in jail. Adults can also lose driving privileges and may face thousands of dollars in fines for a single conviction. A DUI attorney may be able to help a driver who is accused of this serious crime negotiate a plea agreement or mount a defense to DUI charges.
Although many people who drink understand the benefits of finding a designated driver, a study conducted by the University of Florida showed that more than one-third of designated drivers had been drinking. Their blood alcohol content levels showed impairment that affected their driving. With enhanced DUI penalties in Dallas, Texas and across the nation, designated drivers should take note.
In the study of more than 1,000 people at bars in a Southeastern Florida town, about 50 percent registered a BAC of .05 percent or higher, the new recommended maximum for driving. The professor who oversaw the study observed that people often select a designated driver by who has consumed the least amount of alcohol during the night. They may look at the person’s history of driving as someone who has been able to drink and drive previously.
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The people tested in the study had an average age of 28, and most were Caucasian, male, college students. They submitted to an interview that lasted less than six minutes about their alcohol consumption and then took a breath test. Although the non-drivers registered a higher BAC level than the designated drivers, about 18 percent of the designated drivers had BAC levels at .05 percent or higher, with 17 percent registering lesser BAC levels.
While national campaigns have emphasized not consuming any alcohol at all before driving, the professor believes that the drivers think one or two drinks won’t affect driving ability. Other designated drivers might be chosen due to poor planning or at the end of the evening.
A designated driver might not know they need to drive and find out at the last minute. If they are charged with drunk driving, a DUI defense attorney might be able to mitigate the charges and accompanying penalties against them.