Although it is illegal in Tennessee and every other state for people who are not 21 to drink, underage consumption of alcohol is alarmingly common. According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 percent of all of alcohol consumption in the United States is done by those between the ages of 12 and 20.
Ninety percent of this alcohol consumption is done in the form of binge drinks. On average, a teenager drinker will consume more alcohol on one occasion than an adult will. A Youth Risk Behavior Survey done in 2013 of high school teens found that 21 percent admitted to binge drinking in the previous 30 days.
Teens aren't just drinking alcohol; they are drinking and driving. The 2013 survey also found that 10 percent of respondents said that they drove after drinking in the preceding 30 days, and more than 20 percent said that they rode with a driver who had been drinking. This may explain why 4,300 underage individuals die every year as a result of alcohol.
Minor consumption of alcohol can lead to legal problems for teens. A teenager who is believed to have been drinking and driving may be charged with a DUI. Many states now have no-tolerance laws for underage drivers, so any amount of alcohol in a minor's system may be enough to charge them with a DUI. A lawyer may be able to assist a minor who is facing these charges by negotiating an agreement with the prosecution that reduces the penalties.