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What if my teen was arrested for underage drinking in Ohio?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2022 | Criminal Defense, OVI/DUI |

Despite the law dictating that it is generally illegal for people under 21 to consume alcohol, it is a reality that many will do so anyway. They might be away at college and be at a party or event and decide that if alcohol is available, they will partake. It can also occur with younger people in high school or middle school.

Depending on the situation, the underage person could face various penalties. If the parents are deemed as having contributed to the alcohol consumption – knowingly or not – they too can be confronted with a series of ramifications under the law. Knowing the law and how to lodge a defense against juvenile alcohol-related charges is vital when thinking about a defense.

Underage drinking and its potential consequences

Drinking and parties where juveniles congregate are common year-round, but it is especially prevalent during football season. Since there are so many teams in Ohio – college and professional – that there are a seemingly limitless number of events to attend before, during and after games. Parents can get caught up in that and underage people might drink alcohol leading to legal problems.

Ohio state law is clear that people under 21 cannot drink alcohol unless they are being supervised by a parent, another adult or the consumption is based on a religious ritual. The law is similar in Kentucky.

Knowingly supplying alcohol to an underage person is a legal violation. There cannot be an event at a restaurant, hotel, campground or other similar areas if they know that underage people will be consuming alcohol.

This does not assuage the responsibility of the underage person to know they are not legally allowed to drink alcohol. They cannot buy or consume alcohol in a public or private place. Anyone charged under this law could be put into a diversion program.

When underage people consume alcohol, they might also decide to drive. Ohio state law for operating a vehicle impaired (OVI) says that a person who is 21 or older who registers a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or above will be arrested. For those under 21, they are subject to “zero tolerance” meaning if they register 0.02%, they can face OVI charges. They could lose their driving privileges and face other consequences.

After an underage alcohol arrest, a comprehensive defense is imperative

Although prevention and education is a critical part of ensuring younger people do not make mistakes like drinking underage and, worse, getting behind the wheel of an automobile after drinking alcohol, it is still bound to happen. This can lead to problems for them in the future with schooling, getting jobs and being legally allowed to drive.

Parents must be aware of how to protect their kids and themselves. Consulting with professionals who are experienced in all areas of criminal defense can assess the situation and formulate a workable solution whether that is seeking a plea bargain, fighting the charges or finding another strategy.