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What are the penalties for underage drinking?

| May 20, 2020 | Firm News |

As children in Georgia grow up they experience many new things. This is how they learn what they can and cannot do or what they like and do not like. Sometimes they learn through good experiences and sometimes they learn through bad experiences. They are also often times influenced by their friends or what they may see in movies, shows, social media and other formats and may experiment with things they see others doing.

One of these things is drinking alcohol. Many people experience drinking alcohol before they are old enough to legally drink it. This may be something many young people do, but it does not mean that the penalties can be significant. For a first-time underage drinking offense people could be charged with a misdemeanor, be given a $300 fine and could be sentenced up to six months in jail. For a second time offense, the person could be sentenced up to 12 months in jail and/or be fined up to $1,000. People can also be arrested if they are too intoxicated to care for themselves.

Those are the immediate penalties, but these convictions could also have long-term consequences as they will be on background checks as people apply for schools and jobs. There are potential defenses though and people are not automatically guilty simply because they were charged. Also, for a first-time offense people could potentially avoid a conviction by successfully completing the terms of probation at the end of which the charge would be dismissed.

Underage drinking may seem just like something that young people do and that it is not that big of deal. However, a conviction for underage drinking can have lasting effects on one’s life as they grow older. It is important that people can avoid convictions and there may be defenses as well as other ways to ensure people are not ultimately convicted. Experienced attorneys understand the seriousness of underage drinking and may be a useful resource.

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