Some situations involving teens and alcohol can seem harmless, but as a parent or guardian, knowing the consequences to common underage drinking scenarios is critically important. The consequences can involve more than just your teen they can also involve YOU! The following are some common underage drinking scenarios and their consequences.
Alcohol Poisoning – Do the Right Thing
Your teen has been drinking while at a party with friends. One of the other partygoers starts showing signs of severe intoxication: falling over, vomiting, and then becoming unresponsive. What legal consequences does your teen face by calling for help?
A: None. If there is an emergency teens should call 911 immediately – even if they have been drinking. Colorado law clearly states a minor may NOT be charged with MIP providing he or she reports an emergency to 911 dispatch, provides his/her name, waits for emergency crews to arrive, and provides first responders with information.
Your 17 year-old daughter and five of her friends want to have a small get-together at your home. As a parent you feel there won’t be too much harm in supplying some alcohol for them as long as you can monitor what’s happening under your roof, and make sure no one drives after drinking. Is this legally okay?
A: Your daughter’s five friends could all be cited for a Minor in Possession (MIP) infraction. In turn you could be charged with Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, a felony. Your daughter would not be cited if she had your permission to drink.
Drinking and Driving – A Few Sips for the Road
You’ve discussed the dangers of underage drunk driving with your 16-year-old driver. He understands it’s never acceptable to drive after having a few drinks. However he’s pulled over on his way home from a party where he had one shot of alcohol. When given a breathalyzer he registers a .02 – well below the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of .08 percent. Has he broken the law?
A: Yes. He would likely be charged with UDD (Underage Drinking and Driving). This applies to underage drinkers who have a BAC of .01 to .04 percent.
To learn more about underage drinking laws in the state of Colorado, click here.