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Summer and underage drinking? The two don't mix

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Summer is around the corner and concert season will be in full swing. Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Mile High Stadium, Hudson Gardens and other venues will all host world-renowned artists playing in scenic outdoor settings.

Colorado also happens to have a great beer culture that mixes well with the summer festivities. But partaking in underage drinking could result in a range of consequences.

What are the laws?

Just like the rest of the country, the minimum drinking age in Colorado is 21. There are, however, exceptions in Colorado where it is permissible to drink underage without violating the law:

  • On private property with a parent or guardian’s consent
  • In small amounts, as an ingredient in food or in beverages which contain 0.5 percent or less alcohol by volume
  • For educational purposes, such as in the culinary arts, in which the student tastes alcoholic beverages but do not drink them
  • For religious purposes, like sacramental wine
  • When reporting the need for medical assistance for another underage drinker

Penalties for underage drinking

An underage drinking charge in Colorado is called “minor in possession". The punishment for an MIP can vary, and the potential penalties increase with subsequent violations:

  • First offense: A fine of not more than $100 or completion of a substance-abuse education program
  • Second offense: A fine of up to $190, completion of a substance-abuse education program, completion of a substance-abuse assessment if deemed necessary and any recommended treatment and 24 hours of community service
  • Third and subsequent offenses: A fine of up to $250, completion of a substance-abuse assessment and any recommended treatment and 36 hours of community service

Along with the fine, anyone convicted of an MIP may have to pay a $25 surcharge. Students attending the University of Colorado or other universities throughout the state can face additional consequences placed on them by their school.

In addition to possibly receiving an MIP, anyone under 21 caught driving in Colorado with a blood alcohol concentration over .02 percent could face driving under the influence charges.

Be safe

Summer in Colorado is a wonderful time to enjoy music, the outdoors, food, friends and culture. However, if you’re a minor, underage drinking is a serious offense and alcohol should not be part of your summer plans.

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