Underage drinking and driving: Understanding the risks

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2021 | DUI |

Spring and summer breaks are fast approaching. It won’t be long until college students looking to blow off some steam will begin gathering on Florida’s beaches and elsewhere in our communities.

While the legal drinking age in the U.S. is 21, countless underaged adults take their chances with the rules — and some will end up behind the wheel of a car after drinking. There are many implications associated with underage drinking and driving that you should really consider, first.

How common is underage drinking and driving?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol is the most commonly used and abused substance. The government agency’s data shows that underage individuals consume at least 11% of all U.S. alcoholic beverages. That same data shows that at least 4,300 underage intoxicated motorists lose their lives in crashes every year.

It’s no wonder, then, that law enforcement officers are aggressive in prosecuting this population for suspected drunk driving.

Most of us have seen the public service announcements warning us of the dangers of driving under the influence (DUI). Law enforcement officers know that if they don’t get such motorists off the street, they’re liable to cause a catastrophic accident. Intoxicated motorists who cause injuries or fatal crashes often face assault, manslaughter or other serious charges in addition to DUI charges.

What are the consequences of a DUI when you’re underage?

You cannot count on the just system being lenient because of your age. If you’re not of legal drinking age, Florida has a “zero-tolerance” policy that can result in serious complications for your life in the present and long-term consequences for your future. Aside from any punishment the court imposes, you can find yourself saddled with a criminal record that will affect you for years to come.

Any criminal charges on your record can impact your ability to obtain jobs, scholarships and housing. You should have a DUI defense attorney advocating for you in your Vero Beach case if you’re looking to achieve the best outcome possible.