Underage Drinking a Rampant Problem in Southern California

April is Alcohol Awareness Month in the United States. It is probably also a good time to remind ourselves and our children about the importance of spreading awareness about the dangers of alcohol abuse, especially among our youth. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among young people in the United States, even more than tobacco and other illegal drugs. Although it is illegal in California for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol, people between the ages of 12 and 20 consume 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the nation.

When underage drivers drink and operate a vehicle, the consequences can be extremely severe. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23136: “It is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years who has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test, to drive a vehicle.”

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety’s 2010 Statistics, Orange County cities recorded some of the worst numbers in the state for CA crashes involving underage drivers. Laguna Hills had the highest rate among very small cities, while Fullerton had the worst rate among mid-sized cities.

Underage drivers who face DUI (driving under the influence) charges are looking at a number of consequences, including license suspension and a permanent mark on their record. The charges can become even more serious if injuries or fatalities are involved. The experienced Orange County underage DUI defense lawyers at Sitkoff & Hanrahan have years of experience protecting the rights of our youth. Please call us today at (866) 430-8383 to discuss your case.

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