There are real consequences to underage drinking in various aspects of life, including the law. Indiana retains a Zero Tolerance Law against underage drinking, so parents and guardians should do their best to educate their pre-teens on these laws to protect them from making dangerous choices with their peers.
Continue reading to learn more about the Indiana Zero Tolerance Law, and who to call if your teenager is facing criminal charges for underage drinking in Indianapolis.
Underage Drinking in Indiana
Teenagers under the age of 17 who are caught committing an alcohol-related offense will be tried in the juvenile court system. Consequences for possessing, consuming, purchasing, or transporting alcohol under the age of 18 generally include fines, restitution, probation, community service, substance abuse treatment, drug screening, victim impact panels, alcohol and drug education courses, counseling, and more.
Teenagers are not the only ones subject to criminal consequences for underage drinking. In Indiana, an individual must be 21 years of age to lawfully purchase and consume alcoholic beverages. For those who are 18, 19, and 20 years old, this can feel quite trivial since there doesn’t seem to be much separating them from lawful drinkers except a year or two of age. But the reality is, the law is the law, and underage drinking is set at a certain limit to protect people. Even if you are a few months away from being 21 years old, it is still against the law to consume, possess, transport, and purchase alcohol. And if you are caught, the legal consequences are worse than if you were 15 years old.
Defendants over the age of 18 can be charged with a Class C Misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $500 fine, 1 year license suspension, and up to 60 days in jail. Additional consequences may apply too, depending on priors, enhancements, and jurisdiction. That is why it is vital to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent your case. They have the experience, knowledge, and resources to help you avoid the maximum penalties for your criminal charges.