Now that summer is drawing to a close, many students have started to head back to school. The beginning of a new school year is an exciting time as students get back together with old friends and begin a new season of sporting events and other school activities. But despite all the excitement of the back to school season, unfortunately this is also too often a time when students are exposed to the pressures of drinking.
Under Maine Title 28-A, possession, consumption, or purchase of alcohol by a minor can cost up to $400 in fines (assuming it is a first offense). Parents who allow minors in their control, or in a place under their control, to consume alcohol are facing a Class D crime, meaning that it is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000. If that minor is less than 18 years old, then there is a mandatory fine of not less than $1,000 (for a first offense). If a minor is found illegally transporting alcohol, they can face a fine up to $500 as well as having their license suspended for 30 days (again, assuming a first offense). Lastly, a minor found to have any alcohol at all in their bloodstream while driving can have their license suspended for a year if the minor is alone in the vehicle or two and a half years if they have a passenger under 21 in the car. They can then face even harsher punitive action if they are a .08 BAC or above.
Remember, when someone is under 21, there is a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol. Therefore, it will not matter if they are under a .08 BAC – but the penalties will be even harsher if they are over a .08 BAC. Refusal to take a BAC test will result in the mandatory suspension of the minor’s license for a year and a half.