Three Massachusetts teens, two 18-year-olds and one 16-year-old, were taken into custody on July 6 for underage drinking in Bridgewater. Police reported they found the trio on a local sports field after nearby residents called at about 12:08 p.m. to report disruptive activity in the area. As the field closes at 10 p.m., all three were charged with trespassing. As it happens, Massachusetts enforces underage drinking offenses equally as stringently as it does its DUI laws; two of the teens were charged with possession of liquor for a person under 21.

Police say they discovered the 18-year-olds sneaking through a hole in the field’s fence; it is believed they were attempting to flee. The juvenile was still on the field when he was discovered. Both of the 18-year-olds received a $40 bail and were released.

If someone under the age of 21 is suspected of underage drinking in Massachusetts, he or she may be asked to submit to chemical testing to determine their blood alcohol level. The legal limit for DUI for someone under 21 in Massachusetts is .02 – quite different from the .08 limit for adults suspected of driving while intoxicated. If an underage person is charged with possessing alcohol, his or her driver’s license will be suspended.

Being charged with underage drinking or with furnishing alcoholic beverages to minors can be a serious offense with long-lasting implications. Many people charged with alcohol related offenses contact an attorney to represent their interests. An attorney may be able to investigate the circumstances of a charge to determine if their client was truly drinking or negotiate with the prosecution to have the charges reduced or possibly dismissed altogether.

Source: Alcohol Policy Information System, “State Profiles of Underage Drinking Laws: Massachusetts