Alcohol and Graduation By Daniel Smith

Graduation It is that time of year when high schools are graduating thousands of new “adults” out into the world.  But remember, you can vote, get drafted and serve on a jury, but, the drinking age is still 21.  Graduates and their parents need to be careful. Don’t drink and drive.  Enough alcohol impairs your ability to safely operate a vehicle.  For 18 year olds who are not experienced drinkers, even a little can make you unsafe on the road.  An underage DUI means losing your driver’s license for a year and facing criminal proceedings.  You do not want to start your “adult” life with a criminal record. If you are under 21 and drinking and driving, you face several possible scenarios.  If your blood alcohol level is below a 0.05%, under Vehicle Code section 23136, you can be charged with an infraction facing fines and a one year driver’s license suspension.  If your blood alcohol level is over 0.05% but, you are not impaired or at or above 0.08%, under Vehicle Code section 23140 you can be charged with an infraction with larger fines and the same one year driver’s license suspension.  If the alcohol has made you too impaired to safely operate the vehicle or your blood alcohol level is 0.08% or more, it is a misdemeanor and along with fines, classes and public work service and possibly jail time.  Lastly, if you are DUI and you cause someone else to be injured or killed, under Vehicle Code section 23153 or Penal Code section 192 it is a felony and you could be facing prison time. Parents, if you serve alcohol to minors at a party or even let them drink at your home, you are committing a crime aalnd could be prosecuted.  Worse, if one of your party goers is DUI and gets in an accident, you are going to be sued.