The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration conducted a study that showed Utah has the lowest rate of underage drinking nationwide. The survey showed that only 14.28% of Utah youth ages 12-20 had consumed alcohol in the past month. Utah has the lowest rate by far, with Tennessee boasting the second lowest rate of 20.50%, and Vermont being the highest with 37.03%. Utah is well below the national average of 26.6%. Here is the link: http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/1211193154.aspx
The Utah courts take underage drinking very seriously. Many people who are charged with minor in possession of alcohol (MIP) aren’t aware of the serious consequence they will suffer as a result of a conviction. Some people want to take responsibility for their actions and plead guilty at their first court hearing. That can put them in a situation where they are being punished more severely than they should be. A criminal defense attorney can guide you through the process and make sure you understand all the possible consequences and help you make the best decisions.
Perhaps the low drinking rate is due to the severe penalties associate with a conviction for MIP. A MIP is a Class B Misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $1900 fine. At sentencing a judge will usually require you to complete an alcohol education class. The Driver License Division will also suspend your driver license for up to 1 year.
If you want to avoid some of these consequences you should contact a Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney. There are things we can do in preparation for your court date that can help you avoid a driver license suspension and reduce the fines and jail sentence.