Draper Police: More Minors Buying Alcohol Underage as Liquor Stores Fail to ID Customers

Summer is the perfect season to kick back, barbecue, and party with your friends and loved ones.  That’s perfectly fine for responsible adults, assuming they avoid driving under the influence — but for minors who are under the legal drinking age of 21, buying or drinking alcohol can lead to serious consequences.

Draper PD Reports Spike in Alcohol Sales to Teens and Minors

Buying alcohol should be tough for a teenager, who can expect to be carded at any liquor store.  Yet the Draper Police Department reports that local businesses are now failing alcohol compliance checks — which scrutinize retailers to make sure they aren’t selling beer, wine, or liquor to underage shoppers — at a greater rate than they have in the past.

The test itself is simple.  The police send a teenager into a liquor store, and if the store makes the sale, it fails.

“We just cannot make it permissible,” Draper Deputy Police Chief John Eining told local business owners, “for our salespeople to sell alcohol to minors.”

According to a report by the Utah Department of Human Services, Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, almost 6% of students in Utah take their first drink in sixth grade, when most children are 11 or 12 years old.  Nearly 14% have their first drink in eighth grade, around age 13 or 14.  Over a quarter have it in grade 10, when the typical student is 15 or 16.  And for nearly a third of students, the first drink comes during twelfth grade, when most students are 17 or 18.  Underage drinking was found to be substantially more widespread than underage smoking, marijuana use (which can lead to drug charges), or prescription drug abuse.

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Alcohol-Related Offenses Under Utah’s Liquor Laws

Not only do these unlawful liquor sales expose offending establishments to criminal prosecution, fines, loss of their permits, and accident liability — there can also be hefty penalties for the customers, too.

All of the following are criminal offenses under Utah’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, or other portions of the Utah Code.  While some apply specifically to minors, it’s also possible for adults to be charged with many of the following crimes:

  • Driving as an Alcohol Restricted Driver (ARD)
    • Statute — Utah Code § 41-6a-530
    • Class — Class B Misdemeanor
  • Driving without an Interlock Ignition Device
    • Statute — Utah Code § 41-6a-518.2
    • Class — Class B Misdemeanor
  • DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
    • Statute — Utah Code § 41-6a-502
    • Class — Class B Misdemeanor, Class A Misdemeanor, Third Degree Felony
  • Minor’s Unlawful Use of Proof of Age
    • Statute — Utah Code § 32B-4-411
    • Class — Class B Misdemeanor, Class A Misdemeanor
  • Open Container Violations
    • Statute —Utah Code § 41-6a-526
    • Class — Class C Misdemeanor
  • Reckless Driving
    • Statute — Utah Code § 41-6a-528
    • Class — Class B Misdemeanor
  • Tampering with an Ignition Interlock System
    • Statute — Utah Code § 41-6a-518.1
    • Class — Class B Misdemeanor
  • Unlawful Attempt to Gain Admittance by Minor
    • Statute — Utah Code § 32B-4-410
    • Class — Class C Misdemeanor
  • Unlawful Consumption of Alcohol in a Public Place
    • Statute — Utah Code § 32B-4-421
    • Class — Class C Misdemeanor
  • Unlawful Dispensing of Alcohol
    • Statute — Utah Code § 32B-4-422
    • Class — Class C Misdemeanor
  • Unlawful Permitting of Intoxication
    • Statute — Utah Code § 32B-4-419
    • Class — Class C Misdemeanor
  • Unlawful Sale of Alcohol
    • Statute — Utah Code § 32B-4-401
    • Class — Class B Misdemeanor, Third Degree Felony

Fines, Sentencing, and Juvenile Penalties for Alcohol Crimes in Utah

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Generally speaking, Utah teens who are found guilty of underage drinking or other alcohol offenses receive penalties like fines, community service, and driver’s license suspension.  For a detailed explanation of the possible penalties for son or daughter may be facing, see our article on Utah juvenile sentencing guidelines for alcohol misdemeanors

Adult defendants may face the following penalties, in addition to assorted fines, license suspension, mandatory counseling for substance abuse where appropriate, and other consequences:

  • Class C Misdemeanor
    • Fine — Up to $750
    • Sentence — Up to 90 days in jail
  • Class B Misdemeanor
    • Fine — Up to $1,000
    • Sentence — Up to 6 months in jail
  • Class A Misdemeanor
    • Fine — Up to $2,500
    • Sentence — Up to 1 year in jail
  • Third Degree Felony
    • Fine — Up to $5,000
    • Sentence — Up to 5 years in prison

Was Your Son or Daughter Arrested for Underage Drinking at a Party? Consult with a Criminal Attorney in Utah

Teens like to party during summer vacation, but acts like drinking in public or using a fake ID can lead to serious legal trouble.  If your son or daughter was charged for trying to buy alcohol, make sure they have the benefit of aggressive legal defense on their side.

Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer Darwin Overson has over 16 years of experience representing high school and college students charged with alcohol-related offenses, including:

  • Disorderly conduct
  • DUI
  • Open container violations
  • Public intoxication
  • Reckless driving
  • Resisting arrest
  • Simple assault
  • Sexual assault
  • Using a fake ID to get into bars and clubs, or to purchase alcohol underage

A history of DUI or other crimes can have a lasting negative impact on your child’s future.  To set up a free legal consultation, call the law offices of Overson Law right away at (801) 758-2287.