Many young people will brush off underage drinking charges because, "it happens to everyone," or, "it's not that bad." Unfortunately, this exact attitude can cripple a young person's future. Having any conviction - no matter how small - on a criminal record can affect a young person's ability to get a scholarship, a job, even an apartment. Not to mention that these charges are also very expensive.
For example, if you are under 21 and you are caught buying or drinking any amount of alcohol, you will face $500 in fines. If you are caught again, the fines double, to $1,000. You will also need to put an ignition interlock device on your car, which means you will not be able to start your car if you have any trace amount of alcohol on your breath.
Other potential charges related to underage drinking include:
- Possession of a fake ID: $500 fine, up to two months in prison, and driver's license suspension/revocation
- Selling fake IDs: $2,000 fine for each fake ID, up to two years in jail for each fake ID, and potential prosecution under federal laws
- Supplying alcohol to a minor: Up to $2,500 in fines for a first time offense and up to $5,000 in fines for multiple offenses
As you can see, Maryland is tough on underage drinking. If you or your child faces an underage drinking charge, now is not the time to accept the charges as "unimportant." An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you understand what the charges mean for you and your future and fight against them.
Source: Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration, "Maryland Impaired Driving Laws," last accessed Nov. 1, 2013
Visit our pages on juvenile defense to learn more about underage drinking charges.