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.
A recent case involving a fraternity brings attention to the problem of underage drinking in Arizona college towns. Members of an Arizona fraternity recently dropped off a fraternity brother at the hospital with a sticky note explaining he was drunk and needed help. That night, the student had consumed 20 shots of tequila. His frat brothers took him to the hospital out of fear for his well-being, but they didn’t stay because they thought they would get in trouble for providing him alcohol. The ASU fraternity has recently received media attention for its treatment of drunken fraternity brothers who are underage. Another inebriated student from the same fraternity drowned in a river after being kicked out of a Tempe bar during a fraternity gathering.
In Tempe, students in fraternities and sororities have been frequenting local bars because ASU closed Greek sorority and fraternity housing. Without university enforcement and intervention, fraternity members under and over 21 have more of an ability to drink in excess if they are not policed. The student who was taken to the hospital had a blood alcohol level of 0.47. In Arizona, the presence of a blood alcohol level above 0.0 is considered a violation of the law for anyone under 21 driving a motor vehicle. An underage DUI in Phoenix, Arizona results in a revocation, suspension or denial of a license for anywhere up to two years, depending on the number of violations a person has.
Arizona does not permit minors to possess or have any alcohol in their systems. Minors may receive up to 360 days in jail and multiple fines for hundreds or thousands of dollars for alcohol consumption. The law also prohibits people 21 and older from buying alcohol for a minor. Those who provide a minor alcohol could be charged with a misdemeanor.
In Arizona, DUI lawyers may be able to assist minors who have been arrested for an under 21 DUI. Attorneys work with people who are facing misdemeanors for drinking or driving under the influence to receive the most positive outcome possible. When individuals who have been arrested for DUI charges obtain the help a lawyer, they usually have a better chance at making a strong claim and a chance at receiving a lesser charge.
Source: Alcohol Policy Information System, “State Profiles of Drinking Laws: Arizona,” 2013.
Source: DrivingLaws.org, “Drunk Driving Fines and Penalties in Arizona,” , 2012.