In the United States, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume or be in possession of alcohol. Therefore, your teen will face criminal penalties if seen holding a beer, or found under its influence. As a parent what should you do if you find that your child with a beer, a bottle of liquor or any other type of adult beverage?
Teen alcohol possession isn’t what parents want to deal with
Seek treatment if necessary
If your child has consumed more than two or three beverages in a short period of time, he or she may need to see a doctor. The teenage body isn’t as good at absorbing alcohol as the adult body tends to be. Furthermore, teens don’t always know their limits, which may lead them to consume dangerous amounts of beer, liquor or wine.
Figure out where it came from
The first thing that you want to do is find out where the alcohol came from. If it came from your own refrigerator or liquor cabinet, it may be necessary to lock that refrigerator or cabinet. If it came from a friend, relative or some other outside source, you can file a criminal complaint against that person or entity.
Have a long talk with your teen
Once your child has sobered up, be sure to talk to your son or daughter about the dangers of drinking. For example, you could talk about how an underage DUI could make it harder to get into college. Those who consume alcohol are at a higher risk of assault, or to commit assault. Finally, you can talk about the physical effects that alcohol can have on the human body.
Engage in alcohol testing
Even if your teen wasn’t drunk, or didn’t get in trouble for possession of alcohol, you don’t want your child thinking drinking is acceptable. To reduce the chances that your son or daughter drinks alcohol, it may be worthwhile to engage in random testing. You may also want to add a ignition interlock device on any car that your child drives.
If your child is found by the police to be in possession of alcohol, he or she could be charged with a crime. A criminal defense attorney may be able to help get charges reduced or thrown out entirely. In some cases, successful completion of a first-time offender program may result in charges being dismissed.
Author bio: Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.