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What penalties are there for underage alcohol offenses?

Young people often have to make some big mistakes before they can learn some valuable lessons. A typical teenager will push boundaries, break the rules and sometimes challenge parents and other authority figures as they try to navigate the transition into being an adult.

Combine all this with the fact that adolescents also don't have the same appreciation for consequences as adults and it makes sense that young people all across Arizona are capable of getting into some serious trouble. However, just because it may be more common than people realize doesn't make the situation any less serious when and if a minor gets in trouble for an alcohol-related offense.

If a young person under the age of 18 is charged with a misdemeanor related to buying, selling, possessing or consuming alcohol, he or she could be facing some serious penalties. According to Arizona laws, this could include:

  • Probation
  • Suspended driving privileges
  • An order for counseling or attendance at a traffic school
  • Monetary penalties
  • Community service
  • Detention in a juvenile facility

Should the offense rise to the level of a felony or if a person was between the ages of 18 and 21 at the time of the offense, these penalties could prove to be much harsher or the case could be transferred out of juvenile court and into the criminal courts.

On top of the penalties imposed by the court system, a young person could also face repercussions at school, be dismissed from athletic teams or other extra-curricular activities or find that they are ineligible for certain professional or educational opportunities, including scholarships.

Considering all that could be at stake, it can be crucial for parents to help their children defend against felony or misdemeanor charges and work to minimize the consequences, and this could involve discussing the situation with an attorney.

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