Some parents may allow their teenage son or daughter to have a little beer or wine to celebrate a special occasion, and they no doubt believe that a child has not developed anything remotely resembling alcohol dependency. However, young people who do have a taste for alcohol can hide it well. They may not drink every day, but many embrace a different pattern known as binge drinking.
It is a particularly bad idea for teenage binge drinkers to get behind the wheel. Not only do they pose a danger to other drivers, but underage drinkers are involved in about a quarter of the car crashes that kill teens.
Binge drinking explained
Experts came up with the standard definition of binge drinking in relation to college students who indulge. The practice involves imbibing a minimum of five consecutive drinks for men and four for women within a time span of about two hours. A binge can result in bringing the drinker's blood alcohol level to 0.08 percent or above. When a person has this amount of alcohol in the bloodstream, it is illegal and unsafe to drive a vehicle.
Parents may be unaware
According to the information that Mothers Against Drunk Driving gathered in 2015 from the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, approximately one in seven teenagers is a binge drinker. Meanwhile, only one in 100 parents believes their child engages in this behavior.
Penalties in Maryland
If the authorities charge an underage son or daughter with alcohol consumption, the fine could be as much as $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for a second offense. If charged with impaired driving, teens must make a court appearance and will have a subsequent conviction posted to their driving record. A parent may only come to realize that a teen is a binge drinker after this sort of arrest, and it will likely be a jarring revelation. However, families can turn to an experienced attorney who will work to secure the best possible outcome for the case.