Attorneys at Law, Burlington, VT

phone icon 802-318-8076
divider

Underage Drinking Violations

separator

There are several different criminal charges for underage drinking in Vermont. Underage drinking offenses include both possession and consumption of alcohol by persons under the age of 21, as well as lower blood alcohol concentration limits for driving under the influence (DUI). Additionally, persons older than 21 can be charged for providing alcohol to minors as well as hosting parties where underage drinking occurs.

7 V.S.A. § 656.  Minors misrepresenting age, procuring, possessing, or consuming liquors; first offense; civil violation

It is a crime in Vermont for persons under the age of 21 to consume, possess, or falsely represent his or her age in an attempt to obtain alcohol. If you are issued a notice of violation of this statute and it is your first offense you are required to contact the diversion board in the county where the offense occurred within 15 days and register for the Teen Alcohol Safety Program (TASP).

If you successfully complete all of the conditions related to the underage drinking offense which the diversion board has imposed, the diversion board will void the criminal summons and complaint with no penalty due.

If you fail to contact the diversion board and register for TASP, or if you fail to complete the conditions imposed by the diversion board, your case may be turned over to the judicial bureau.  If the judicial bureau finds you liable for violating the statute, you will face a penalty of $300 and a 90-day suspension of you driver’s license. If you fail to pay the $300 penalty, your license may be suspended indefinitely until payment is made.

Driving under the influence: 23 VSA § 1216. Persons under 21; alcohol concentration of 0.02 or more

If you are under the age of 21 and are found to be operating a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.02 or greater, the state of Vermont may punish you for violation of a civil traffic violation.

  • First Offense: six month suspension of license and requirement that you comply with section 1209a(1)(a) – CRASH.
  • Second or subsequent violation: suspension of license until you reach the age of 21 or for one year, whichever is longer, and compliance with section 1209a(1)(a).

Social Hosting

Vermont Statutes: 7 V.S.A. § 658. Sale or furnishing to minors; enabling consumption by minors; minors causing death or serious bodily injury

It is a crime in Vermont to sell, provide, or enable persons under the age of 21 to consume alcohol. This includes parents allowing their children to host parties where underage drinking occurs at their own home. While a parent may think that this provides a safe alternative to unsupervised parties, the penalties in Vermont can be severe. If you are convicted for violating this statute, the law mandates a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $2,000, imprisonment of not more than two years, or both.

You may also be held criminally liable under the statute if a person under the age of 21, to whom you have provided alcohol, gets in a motor vehicle accident. If the motor vehicle accident results in death or serious bodily injury to himself or herself or to another person, you may be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned for up to five years, or both.

The above statutes encompass only the criminal penalties that you may face for providing alcohol to minors. Be aware, additional civil penalties by the victims of accidents resulting from providing alcohol to minors may also be brought.

 

Additional Links: The Vermont Department of Health website has useful resources available to parents who believe their child is developing problems with alcohol.

http://healthvermont.gov/adap/underage_drinking/

Teen Alcohol Safety Program (TASP): http://www.atg.state.vt.us/issues/tasp-database.php

More info on TASP: http://www.udetc.org/documents/judicial/0710eNews/VermontCase.pdf