According to a new report produced by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's ("SAMHSA") Center for Behavioral Health Statistics, college students tend to experiment with specific types of drugs for the first time during certain times of year. Specifically, they tend to want to try stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin during November, December, or April-- the midterm seasons. They are more likely to try marijuana, inhalants, and alcohol for the first time during the summer, while the first use of cigarettes peaks in June, September, and October. The average age of first alcohol use is at age 17, during Freshman year.
The report was produced with almost 12 years of government survey data, combining information from 68,600 full-time college students answering the 2002 through 2013 surveys. Its purpose was to help parents talk to their kids about substance abuse and presumably suggest ways to combat DUIs and substance abuse amongst college students.
In addition to the notoriously tough laws on drinking and driving, Washington state also has a no tolerance policy for minors driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Under RCW 46.61.503, you may be arrested for a Minor DUI if you are under the age of 21 and either driving or in physical control of a motor vehicle with a breath or blood alcohol content of .02 or greater (the legal limit for adults is 0.08). This zero tolerance policy also applies to marijuana and any other drug or illicit substance, including prescription pills that are being abused. While Washington has legalized an ounce of recreational marijuana and medical marijuana, it is illegal for anyone under 21 to have THC in their system or to possess it. See RCW 46.61.506.
A minor DUI is a misdemeanor punishable by 0-90 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. Unlike an adult DUI, which is a gross misdemeanor charge, there is no mandatory jail time, fines or ignition interlock device requirement. However, it does trigger a mandatory license suspension of at least 90 days by the Department of Licensing.
It goes without saying that it is unlawful for anyone under 21 to be in possession of or drinking alcohol. Penalties are up to the discretion of the judge.
Whatcom County College Crimes Defense Lawyer
Numerous studies have shown that adolescents and college-age youth do not have the same developed reasoning and decision-making skills as adults. Moving to college, peer pressure, and the differential reasoning skills can all lead to poor decision making-- but that does not mean college students and minors deserve to have a criminal record for the rest of their lives. Do not leave your or your child's future up to fate. The Law Offices of Steve Karimi has successfully tried many juvenile cases as well as underage drinking cases. If your child has been charged with underaged drinking or possession, do not hesitate to contact a Whatcom County college crimes defense attorney today or call 206-621-8777.