As the school year winds to a close, with college students packing up and returning home for the summer, and with high school students going to prom, and graduation, and parties, May and June become high-traffic months for young drivers. At Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, our drunk driving attorneys want to take a minute to remind teens and young adults about responsible driving, state laws, and the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, to encourage a safe and happy start to summer.
Graduation parties are a great time for friends, fun, and late nights. Often, the drinks flow freely, and the invitee list of parents and teens makes underage drinking a real hazard, especially at parties that run late, or have minimal adult supervision. Teens who drink even a few beers before attempting to drive home run the risk of serious impaired judgment and hand-eye coordination, as they are not necessarily used to alcohol’s effects, and may be driving in the dark, after the party has ended.
College students who are returning home from their freshman and sophomore years may also be used to the party lifestyle, and find that it is much harder to drink underage and get around off-campus. Any time you are mixing alcohol or drugs with driving—no matter how far you are going—you are putting yourself and others at risk.
Every year, several hundred drivers in the state are killed or injured in drunk driving collisions, either through their own intoxication, or at the hands of another driver. In 2012, more than 25,600 people were arrested in New Jersey for driving under the influence, and 229 of those arrests were for teens under 18 who were intoxicated behind the wheel. In the same year, more than 160 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving accidents, and 18 of those victims were involved in crashes with an underage drunk driver.
Although the legal age for consuming alcohol is 21, drunk driving attorneys in New Jersey report that the state’s statistics for underage drinking are high, especially considering the risks involved, both to your health and your future. Underage drinkers, if caught, face a wide range of penalties from license suspension (even if you are not driving, or do not have your license yet), to heavy fines, counseling, or even time spent in juvenile detention. If you injure someone else while you are driving drunk and underage, the consequences can be even more extreme, and you could find yourself in court, and possibly even being tried as an adult based on the severity of the injuries you caused.
The drunk driving attorneys at Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, a New Jersey law firm, recommend that teens and young adults follow the state’s laws regarding drug usage and alcohol consumption, to ensure that they remain safe and out of legal trouble. If you do get caught driving drunk, and you are underage, our attorneys can help you every step of the way. Contact an HCK DUI/DWI attorney today to discuss your case and the options available to you.