Technology Joins the Fight to Stop Underage Drinking in Colorado

New technology in the form of hand-held identification card scanners has been employed by several Colorado Springs businesses in a pilot program to ferret out underage drinkers. The scanners - the latest weapon in the arsenal of businesses and law enforcement - are designed to scan the magnetic strip on a restaurant or bar patron's identification card (be it a driver's license or state-issued ID) and read the information embedded within it. That information is then relayed via a small video screen to a doorman or bouncer, allowing for an immediate, foolproof verification that the cardholder is indeed old enough to drink alcohol, removing the risk of inadvertently admitting a minor into an establishment that is meant for those over the age of 21.

What Are the Penalties for Underage Drinking?

The state of Colorado takes underage drinking seriously. That is why the laws are strict enough to hopefully discourage minors from imbibing alcohol. There are several different laws governing the issue of minor consumption. They include sections of Title 42 (Article 2) of the Colorado Revised Statutes. In a nutshell, the law prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from being in possession of alcoholic beverages of any sort (both home-brewed and purchased) or having a blood alcohol concentration of .05 or more. The law does allow for some exceptions such as being in a private location with the minor's parent or guardian present that will prevent a minor's consumption from being a criminal matter.

If a minor is determined to be in possession of alcohol or under the influence of it, his or her driver's license can immediately be suspended for a period of three months for a first offense. The license suspension might be delayed if a court-ordered treatment program or alcohol assessment is completed.

A minor in possession charge might seem like a trivial matter, but it actually isn't. It can have a huge impact on your child's future educational, housing and job opportunities where a criminal background check is performed. Taking whatever action is necessary to lessen the consequences of an alleged minor in possession incident - including hiring a skilled Colorado criminal defense attorney - is the best thing you can do to help your child now and into the future.