When Youth Possess Alcohol in a Vehicle

It comes as no surprise that alcohol is the drug of choice for America’s youth. Unfortunately, early drinking has caused many preteens and teens to suffer the consequences of overindulging, often because they simply don’t understand how alcohol affects their bodies.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “Underage drinking is a serious public health problem in the United States. Alcohol is the most widely used substance of abuse among America’s youth, and drinking by young people poses enormous health and safety risks.”

But despite all the anti-drinking campaigns heavily pushed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, law enforcement, and the schools, underage drinking continues to plague America’s adolescents.


As a parent of a fairly responsible teenager, you may or may not only be concerned about them overdoing it with alcohol, but you don’t want them “caught” because you don’t want them getting in trouble with the law, especially when a criminal record can affect their educational opportunities.

As you know, a lot has changed since the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, when the laws were more relaxed. Nowadays, law enforcement has less tolerance for underage drinking than it did in previous generations. Even if your teen isn’t drinking and driving, let them know that they can still get in trouble if they are caught with alcohol in their vehicle and you are not with them.

Under California law, if you son or daughter is under 21 they cannot carry beer, wine or liquor in their car unless they are with a parent and the alcohol is unopened and sealed. If they are caught with alcohol in their vehicle, the following may occur:

  • Their vehicle could be impounded for up to 30 days.
  • They may be fined up to $1,000.
  • Their driver’s license may be suspended for one year.
  • If they are not licensed, the DMV could delay issuing their first license for up to one year.
  • If they are caught driving with any measurable alcohol in their system (.01% or above), their driver’s license will be revoked for one year.

Is your son or daughter facing alcohol-related charges? To protect their future, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a free case evaluation!

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