Underage drinking in West Virginia is not a victim-less crime. In 2012, six people died, and 305 were seriously injured in car accidents attributed to underage drinking. Violent crimes associated with underage drinking included five murders and 3,000 non-fatal assaults and rapes. There were 4,100 property crimes such as burglary and 77,000 crimes against the public order, including vandalism and disorderly conduct.
The Costs of Underage Drinking
In 2013, underage drinking cost the citizens of West Virginia about $340 million. This figure includes the costs of medical care; time lost from work and pain and suffering. This breaks down to $2,119 for every youth in the state or $3.12 for each drink. Children conceived by teen mothers who drink can suffer permanent damage from fetal alcohol syndrome. The financial costs for this alone are $14 million. Teens who begin to drink before age 15 are four times more likely to become dependent on alcohol than those who start to drink at 21.
West Virginia’s laws on underage drinking have no exceptions insofar as it is illegal for anyone under 21 to consume alcohol. A parent or spouse over 21 is allowed to provide alcohol to a minor, but the minor is not legally allowed to drink it. That exception should be considered very carefully. If someone is injured because of an act committed by an intoxicated teen, the parent could be considered negligent in a civil lawsuit and end up paying a large settlement. Also, it is completely illegal for a parent to supply alcohol to their child’s friend, reports a DUI Lawyer in Berkeley Springs WV.
If a minor is in an auto accident, expect the car insurance to either be canceled or to increase by $100-200 per month.
Consequences to a Minor of a DUI Conviction
Of course, there will be driving penalties. Ask a DUI Lawyer in Berkeley Springs WV. In addition to that, the conviction will be public record. It will have to be disclosed numerous times, in applications for jobs, college, housing and loans.
The Wagner Law Firm devotes all of their time and resources to aggressively defending those accused of DUI. Harley Wagner, a DUI Lawyer in Berkeley Springs WV, co-authored West Virginia DUI Defense: The Law and Practice. Anyone who needs a DUI Lawyer in Berkeley Springs WV should immediately contact the firm for a free consultation.