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Teach your kids not to drink and drive this prom season

The Newton County Drug Free Coalition will be passing out educational materials to families concerning the detrimental impact of substance use and abuse on teenagers this spring. According to the coalition, drug and alcohol use among teenagers can result in increased levels of risky behavior, like unprotected sex, drug use, drug overdoses, suicide and violence. There is also the risk of intoxicated teens driving their vehicles unlawfully while inebriated.

Some parents are responding to increased concerns over alcohol and drug abuse this prom season by hosting parties in their homes. Certain parents may also be tempted to allow their teens to consume alcohol at these home-based parties with parental supervision.

When adults host parties with teenagers and allow the teenagers to consume alcohol, the practice is referred to as "social hosting." The problem is, social hosting can end in disaster for teens and their parents, particularly from a legal perspective.

Due to the state of Georgia's zero-tolerance underage drinking and driving laws, if a teenager leaves a social hosting party in his or her vehicle , even a slight amount of alcohol in the teen's system could result in an underage drinking and driving charge. This is because teens are held to a much stricter standard than the .08 percent blood alcohol content limitation imposed on adult drivers.

Additionally, if the teen with alcohol in his or her system causes a car accident and injuries, both the teenager and the adults who permitted him or her to drink could be both criminally and financially liable.

If you or your son or daughter were accused of crimes related to underage alcohol possession or underage drinking and driving, make sure you understand the nature of those charges and the potential punishments. This information will help you determine the most appropriate criminal defense strategies to employ.

Source: The Covington News, "Melvin: Social hosting is not a safer option," Mollie Melvin, accessed April 06, 2018

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