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Underage drinking: A misdemeanor on a criminal record

Underage drinking: A misdemeanor on a criminal record

Underage drinking is a big deal in today’s world. Drinking under the age of 21 is an offense in Maryland, although those underage may have a blood alcohol content under .02 without consequences from a DUI. It’s illegal for anyone under 21 to drink alcohol or to possess it; that means that they may only have a bottle in their vehicle, but it’s still illegal.

For those under 21, the limit for their BAC is .02. If the BAC is found to be over .02, then the minor can be charged with underage drinking. If your child happens to be driving with a BAC of 0.02 or higher, police may charge your child with driving under the influence.

In Maryland, underage drinking and minor in possession charges are both misdemeanors. That means that if your child has either of those charges against them and is found guilty, he or she will have that offense on his or her criminal record. Interestingly, minors often incriminate themselves. The police may ask if they’ve been drinking, but they have no legal obligation to tell an officer they have been. In fact, telling an officer that you’ve had a drink when you’re a minor can lead to criminal charges; even a small amount of alcohol can easily contribute to a BAC of 0.02.

The effects of this kind of charge on your child’s criminal record could be immense. It could be harder to find jobs that require driving or schools may look at the record when determining placement in university programs. If you’re interested in learning how to prevent criminal charges, please visit our underage drinking webpage.

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