Good Neighbors. Great Lawyers.

Underage drinking could cost parents

By Cheryl M. Gill on Wednesday, April 15th 2015

If you have a teenager, chances are you’re gearing up for prom and graduation season.  But if alcohol becomes part of those special events, both you and your teen stand to get in serious legal trouble.

It’s not uncommon for parents to host those celebrations, reasoning that if their kids will be partying at least they’ll be doing it in a safe, supervised environment. But in Wisconsin:

  • An underage person can drink in the presence of their parents or legal guardians or adult spouse, if married, if the adult gives permission.
  • You may not procure for, sell or give alcohol to any underage person not accompanied by their parents.
  • Fines for a first offense could reach $500 per underage drinker.

If the legal implications don’t have you convinced, consider these facts from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention:

  • Underage drinking may impair neurological development, causing youth to make irresponsible decisions, encounter memory lapses, slow neural impulses and engage in risky behaviors.
  • Underage drinking cost Wisconsin taxpayers $1 billion in 2010, or $2.42 for every drink consumed.
  • In 2009, one in five teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol concentration over the legal adult limit (0.08).

When you consider the legal consequences as well as the social and health implications, underage drinking is nothing to celebrate.

Article by Cheryl Gill, attorney at Johns, Flaherty & Collins. It originally appeared in Coulee Parenting Connection. For a criminal defense lawyer in La Crosse, call her at 608-784-5678.

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