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Underage drinking: The facts and why defense is important

Teens who get behind the wheel and drive drunk are taking a very dangerous risk. They risk getting into an accident that could harm them, their passengers or other drivers on the road. Even if nothing happens, a traffic stop could lead to penalties from the police; these punishments can be anything from a minor license revocation on a first offense up to thousands of dollars in fines or misdemeanor charges. Felony charges might even be considered in serious cases where someone was particularly reckless.

To protect teens from making these mistakes, parents need to talk to them about the very real dangers that exist. Teen alcohol use results in 4,700 people being killed every year. That isn't all on the roads, but the total of people losing their lives is enough to provoke a conversation on why a teen should not drink underage.

It's a fact that those who start drinking early are seven times more likely to be involved in an alcohol-related collision, which is why car crashes have become the leading cause of death for teens. It's not just the teen who suffers; even if your child survives an accident, others may not. That could lead to a lifetime of guilt or time spent in prison that should have otherwise been time in school, work or enjoying being a young adult.

In around 25 percent of the collisions recorded, it's the underage drinker who was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash. That in itself shows how impulsive some teens can be and why the law makes it legal to drink only at age 21.

Teens have their whole lives ahead of them, and one mistake shouldn't lead to a lifetime of consequences. The right defense is vital after a crash or traffic stop, so your child can make sure to have the best chances following an arrest.

Source: MADD, "Underage Drinking Statistics," accessed Aug. 23, 2016

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