Underage Alcohol Consumption & Penalties

Interviewer: In Ohio, what do they call underage drinking or possession or, what is it called?

Dale: Underage consumption.

Interviewer: And under age is 21 and under, right?

Dale: That is correct.

Interviewer: How often do you see this coming up as a case, and how serious is it? What are the charges for it? What are the penalties?

Dale: There are a lot of kids that get charged with it. A lot of kids experiment with boos, the level is very low it’s .02. All right? So there isn’t much of a leeway there if you’ve drank some beer. It happens often it’s not treated real seriously, but if a child brings alcohol onto school premises, now we’re talking a serious problem.

Interviewer: Before we get to that, you said a .02. I mean , do the police breathalyze someone they believe to be a minor, that’s drinking alcohol?

Dale: Yes.

Interviewer: So even though they’re not driving a car, they’re walking on the side of the road,let’s say they’re at a party.

Dale: They will do that just to prove their case. Just as evidence for their case.

Interviewer: Are they allowed to refuse a preliminary breathalyzer test?

Dale: I think they could without consequence, other than the fact the officer could say, “ Well, we gave them an opportunity to prove that they weren’t drinking, and they refused.”

Interviewer: Is there any consequence?

Dale: Yeah, they’re probably found guilty. Most of the time what they’ll try to do is, that they’ll get juveniles into some kind of alcohol program.The authorities are more interested as to where they got the alcohol, and what they really want to know is have the parents provided the alcohol. Because now we’re getting into contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and you might even have children services get involved. If a juvenile says, “Oh yeah, my dad gave us a twelve pack, but told us to stay at home.” There’s trouble there, it could could be a child endangerment charge as well as contributing to the delinquency. And children services might do an investigation as well.

Interviewer: Is there a difference for underage consumption, if someone’sunder 18 versus over 18 but below 21?

Dale: No, its 21 and under. Anybody under 2 1 would still be under age consumption. It depends on what court you go to. If you’re under 18 you’ll go to juvenile court, if you’re over 18 you’ll go to municipal court. But the charge remains the same.Then of course there’s operating a vehicle, under age consumption.