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Not 21? Beware the potential consequences of drinking alcohol

In Maryland and all other states, the legal drinking age is 21. If you are living on a college campus or hang out with people older than you are, you may have been exposed to underage drinking on more than one occasion. Studies show that kids often take their first drinks of alcohol when they're as young as 12. Drinking underage can no doubt get you into a lot of trouble.

If you were to consume alcohol underage, you definitely wouldn't be the first person who has ever done so, nor will you likely be the last. However, there are several things you should about the possible repercussions of drinking before you reach the age of 21. One of the most common consequences is legal trouble, and if that arises, you'll want to know where to seek support.

You're not the only one affected

Since you can't legally buy alcohol anywhere in the United States unless you are age 21 or older, if you're drinking it, it means that someone bought it for you or provided it. Parents or other adults who serve alcohol to minors or young adults who are age 18 or more but not yet 21 can face criminal charges and severe penalties.

In some states, if you get into an accident and cause another person injury, then your parent or the adult who served you alcohol may be hold legally accountability for the victim's injuries.

You could lose your driver's license

Did you pass your driver's permit test the first time? Maybe you had to give it couple shots like many other teenagers have in the past. When you finally got your learner's permit, you likely felt a sense of independence and freedom. That can all be gone in an instant if the state suspends or revokes your license because of an alcohol-related incident. 

Time in jail

The last thing you want is to lose your freedom altogether. After all, your teenage years are meant to be full of adventure and new experiences; however, you don't want one of those experiences to be sitting locked up in a detention center. Whether you're a minor or 21 or older, if you face drunk driving charges or some other offense related to alcohol, you have the opportunity to try to avoid conviction.

Relying on someone well-versed in criminal law to help you protect your rights is always a good idea. One poor choice need not necessarily ruin your whole life.

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