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Office of Traffic Safety

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Underage Drinking

Underage Drinking Consequences, Facts and Laws

Underage alcohol use is not an innocent crime or activity. Alcohol consumption by adolescents can result in brain damage and impairs intellectual development. Alcohol is linked to as many as two-thirds of all sexual assaults and date rapes of teens and college students.


Consequences of Providing Alcohol to those Underage

Adults who provide alcohol to minors can be held responsible and suffer serious criminal, legal and financial consequences, including: felony charges and prison time in the case of death; civil liability charges in the case of injury, property damage or death; and increased insurance rates.

Underage Drinking Facts

Too often teens take drinking to disturbing extremes. Alcohol and drinking problems contribute to:

  • Suicide and death — nearly half of all teen suicides each year and more than half of adolescent deaths in Minnesota involve alcohol.

  • Traffic crashes, injuries and deaths — one-third of all traffic fatalities among 16 to 19-year olds are caused by drinking and driving.

  • Violence, sexual assaults and date rape — drinkers are more prone to injuries due to violence; and two-thirds of sexual assaults and date rapes among teens and college students are alcohol related.

  • Withdrawal, depression and emotional/psychological difficulties.

  • School delinquency, failure and dropout.

  • Alcohol dependence — those who begin drinking at age 15 are four times more likely than those who begin at age 21 to develop alcohol dependence.

  • A DWI offense can result in one year in jail, $3,000 fine, loss of driving privileges, legal costs and increased insurance rates. A DWI stays on a person’s record for a minimum of 15 years.

  • A citation for underage drinking and driving (less than .08) can cost $700 and/or 90 days in jail, result in loss of driving privileges for 30 days, and remain on a person’s record for 15 years. A second violation will result in loss of driving privileges for 180 days.

  • Trying to purchase alcohol with a fake ID can result in loss of driving privileges for at least 90 days and a fine.