Officers encouraging parents to talk to kids about drinking

Published 11:55 am Saturday, August 21, 2010

Local law enforcement agencies are urging parents to talk with their teens, as well as those college-bound, about the consequences of underage drinking — an important reminder as summer draws to a close and big party weekends loom with students returning to the school or campus. Law enforcement officers are also reminding parents about the consequences of providing alcohol to minors.

The safety message comes as around 400 Minnesota law enforcement agencies ramp up DWI patrols through Labor Day. In addition to preventing illegal underage drinking, the effort intends to curb young people from drinking and driving.

“Young adults take plenty of risks, including drinking and driving,” said Albert Lea Police Lt. J.D. Carlson. “With parties going on during the start of the school year, we’re asking students to think twice about making dangerous decisions and encouraging parents to be our partners in this effort.”

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The state’s “Not a Drop” law says driving minors cited for any amount of alcohol use will lose their license from 30 to 180 days, and face up to a $700 fine and 90 days in jail. Minors will lose their license until age 18 if they are arrested for DWI or involved in an impaired driving crash or crime. Trying to purchase alcohol with a fake ID can result in a loss of driving privileges for at least 90 days.

Adults who provide alcohol to underage drinkers will be held responsible and face serious criminal and legal consequences and are also subject to civil liability in cases of injury, property damage or death. Civil liability is not covered by most insurance.

“If an adult provides alcohol to an underage person and that person is killed or injured or if they kill or injure someone else, the adult can be charged with a felony and face time in prison,” Carlson said.