Underage drinking is widespread along adolescents, according to an annual survey of U.S youth, three-fourths of twelfth graders, more than two-thirds of tenth graders, and about two in every five eighth graders have consumed alcohol. Each year approximately five thousand young people under the age of twenty one die as a result of underage drinking; This includes about 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1,600 as a result of homicides, 300 from suicide, as well as hundreds from other injuries such as falls, burns, and drownings.
So what are the penalties if someone is caught for underage drinking? Some of the consequences one might face are: a class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to five hundred dollars, alcohol awareness class, eight to forty hours community service, or thirty to one hundred and eighty days loss or denial of drivers license. If a minor is seventeen or older and the violation is their third offense, then the offense is punishable by a fine of two hundred and fifty to two thousand dollars, confinement in jail for up to a hundred and eighty days or both, as well as automatic drivers license suspension. Some people argue that these punishments are not nearly enough and should be increased so they are taken more seriously.
Currently the average fee for drinking related offenses is set at a maximum of three hundred dollars, a fee that has not changed since the 1970’s. If we were to adjust this to match the current price of living, the fee would be closer to one thousand dollars. One argument is that raising the minimum fine would undoubtedly encourage many minors to take the penalty more seriously, with the added benefit of helping to ease the financial burden of court costs, police, and etc. on communities. Also if parents are the solution and the fine is increased its more likely that kids will have to ask their parents for help covering the fine, since the fine is more than pocket change.
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