By age 18, 70 percent of Americans have consumed at least one alcoholic beverage, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. That teens and young adults under the age of 21 drink alcohol is no secret.
In fact, it was not long ago that the legal drinking age in many states was 18.
Why was the legal drinking age raised to 21?
To combat high numbers of young adults drinking and driving, according to ChooseResponsibility.org.
Drunk driving is a serious issue in North Carolina and throughout the United States. Drunk drivers killed 378 people in alcohol related accidents in North Carolina in 2014, including two people in Pasquotank County.
Individuals ages 21 and older who have a blood alcohol level (BAC)of .08 percent or higher are subject to being charged with driving while intoxicated. Drunk drivers also may be held liable for the harm they cause by filing a civil lawsuit seeking damages.
North Carolina has a zero tolerance law for underage drinking. If you are under 21 and convicted of driving after consuming any amount of alcohol, you will lose your driver’s license for one year, have to pay fines and courts costs of hundreds of dollars and see a substantial increase in your insurance premiums.
DUI/DWI in North Carolina
The terms DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated) are often used interchangeably to refer to the offense of driving drunk.
In North Carolina, all licensed drivers give what is known as implied consent, or agreement to submit to a chemical test for drugs or alcohol administered by law enforcement.
The penalties for an underage DWI charge in North Carolina can include any of the following:
One year driver’s license suspension;
Up to $1,000 fine;
Community service hours;
Limited driving privilege; and
Class 2 misdemeanor on his or her record.
Underage Drinking in North Carolina
In North Carolina, the average person first drinks alcohol as a teenager. By 15, half of teens have consumed alcohol. To raise awareness of this issue among teens and their parents, Governor Pat McCrory launched the Talk It Out campaign in 2014.
Underage drinking occurs across socioeconomic, racial, gender, and geographic lines. When polled, 94 percent of North Carolina youth stated that underage drinking is a serious problem, according to statistics provided by Talk It Out.
Surprisingly, less than 50 percent of parents interviewed said the same thing. This disconnect between parents’ perceptions and the reality of the issue is what the Talk It Out campaign is trying to address. If parents do not take a proactive stance to protect their children by discussing the dangers of alcohol with them, teens will continue to die and suffer permanent injuries caused by underage drinking.
One third of teenage traffic fatalities are linked to underage alcohol consumption.
When an adolescent consumes alcohol, he or she will feel the effects much longer than an adult.
Heavy alcohol use before the brain is done developing can lead to learning, memory, and impulse control problems later in life. If you are not sure where to start this conversation with your teen, try with one of these facts.
Do You Need an Attorney On Your Side?
Some teenagers exercise poor judgment and make the decision to get behind the wheel after a night of drinking. Unfortunately, this often leads to devastating accidents that lead to injuries and loss of life.
Don’t face the issue alone if you have been injured by a drunk driver in North Carolina. Contact the North Carolina attorneys at Glover Law Firm to learn how we can help.
We will provide you with a consultation on your case and discuss with you your options for recovery.