Underage drinking targeted by CCSO

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 12, 2005

With warmer months on the horizon, the Crenshaw County Sheriff's Department is looking out for underage drinking and will especially focus on adults who provide alcoholic beverages to minors.

Investigator Robin Daniels said underage drinking is a primary concern this time of the year as teenagers gain more free time from school activities.

"We see an increase in arrests of juveniles with DUI's and crime in general as they start to have more free time," said Daniels. "And let's not forget that Spring Break is right around the corner."

Daniels said field parties are a common occurrence throughout the county and that some adults, parents included, either provide or ignore the consumption of alcohol on their property.

This needs to be eliminated, he said, and adults should understand the seriousness of what they are allowing.

"It is an offense for any adult or parent to host one of these parties and allow teenagers to drink," he said. "The property owner is subject to arrest and can be charged. There are some parents who think it's okay for their child and his or her friends to drink if they're at home. They don't seem to understand that these kids can leave the property. The best thing is for teenagers not to be drinking at all."

Daniels said Crenshaw County has been lucky in that there haven't been any serious accidents involving teenagers and alcohol within the past year or so. In ages 15-20, car accidents are the leading cause of death. Teenagers are already at an increased risk because of their lack of driving experience. In Alabama, a person under the age of 21 is legally intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of .02.

"We have had some accidents but none involving teens and alcohol," he said. "Which is amazing considering some of the rough roads we have in the county."

But should a teenager die in a car wreck where alcohol is involved?

"If an adult is involved, he or she can be charged as an accessory," said Daniels. "They can be sued by the family of the victim and can face prison time. And that's what they deserve."

This can include those at a convenience or package store who sell to minors.

"A few weeks ago, the ABC Board did come through and write some citations for selling to minors," said Daniels. "So we know this goes on and who's doing it."