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Underage car passenger faces alcohol charges

Police recently charged a university student riding in the back seat of a vehicle with underage use of alcohol. This student arrest was made even though the passenger student had taken the safe and commendable step of having a designated driver for the evening who did not consume alcohol.

Students in North Carolina, and elsewhere, often engage in youthful indiscretions which involve experimentation with alcohol while they are underage. Often, as in this case, they do not realize that they can get into trouble even if they are taking precautions, such as refraining from driving.

In this case, a police officer stopped a car after seeing it make an improper right hand turn from the left lane from a street into a shopping center. The officer later stated that, after he stopped the vehicle, he saw the student riding in the back seat on the driver's side reach under his seat.

When questioned by the officer, the vehicle's driver indicated that he had not been drinking. While the driver initially told the officer that his back seat passenger had not been drinking either, he later told him that the passenger had asked him to be the designated driver, as he had consumed alcohol earlier that day.

The officer reportedly smelled alcohol coming from the vehicle, but only after he asked the passenger in the back seat to roll down his window. The passenger later allegedly admitted drinking and was taken into custody and transported to a county jail. The driver received a traffic citation for the improper turn.

Source:, "UGA student arrested on alcohol charges despite designated driver," Aug. 29, 2012

  • Kids make mistakes. Most times, however, they do not understand the consequences of certain behaviors and how big of an impact a criminal charge can have. Rather than having a conviction ruin a child's record, parents can help their children defend against the charges and protect their future. For more information, please visit our page on youth legal problems in North Carolina.

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