Most teenagers know what the legal drinking age is in Maryland. In some cases, the taboo of underage drinking is one of the allures for people below the age of 21 to partake. But this is a dangerous decision that can have awful effects, especially if they are combined with driving or other potentially hazardous activities.
The legal drinking age is 21. It has been moved a handful of times over the course of history, but the 21 limit has now been in place for decades and appears to be the one that will stick. And there are many people who wait to try alcohol until they are 21 years old.
Summer will soon be on the Mid-Atlantic Region, and that brings people out to the beach or picnics among other destinations. Even as the flowers bloom and we see more birds and bugs in the air, we also see more police on the roads of Maryland as they check drivers for alcohol and drug use.
There are some assumptions about safety regarding alcohol. One is that a person should not drive or operate machinery while intoxicated, as safety is nearly impossible to maintain while drunk. Another is that alcohol is bad for the developing minds and bodies of children.
In recent years, there is an increasing number of colleges in Maryland and in states across the country that are enacting policies in order to deter students from underage drinking. According to the Center for Disease Control, alcohol is the most commonly used drug by youth in the United States. Underage drinking causes more than 4,300 deaths each year and plays a role in destructive behavior, unprotected sexual activity and poor school performance.
Maryland law prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from consuming alcohol. It also bars individuals under the age of 21 from possessing alcoholic beverages. However, there are several exceptions to these laws. For instance, a minor may drink alcohol at home as long as a family member over the age of 21 is there to supervise. Minors may also consume alcohol as part of a religious ceremony.
As more states legalize or relax rules related to marijuana, drug-related car accidents may increase. That's why the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to create universal rules to test for drugged driving. The board also asks that the NHTSA provide Maryland and other states with more insight into how it can combat drugged driving.
It isn't uncommon for college students in Maryland and throughout the country to engage in underage drinking. However, underage drinking may result in schools being named as defendants in lawsuits or in a loss of prestige. To reduce their liability, colleges may create a code of conduct that students must live up to. They must also create anti-drug and alcohol policies to comply with the Drug Free School and Communities Act Amendments of 1989.
In November, Maryland authorities raided a house where a party reportedly left the air so infused with alcohol that it registered a .01 on a Breathalyzer test. According to sources, the party was being held by the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity in Bethesda.
If you are a college student or the parent of a student who is currently facing criminal charges related to underage drinking and driving, you know the importance of taking quick action. Your education, future and even your personal freedom is on the line, but you still have options.