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Underage Drinking: Legal Immunity For Reporting Alcohol Poisoning

To protect young people, Texas offers legal immunity from underage drinking charges when reporting cases of alcohol poisoning.   

Underage alcohol use is one of the most common types of juvenile crimes. It is also a major health concern. Young people tend to lack the maturity to limit alcohol consumption. On vacation, at parties, or while attending sporting events, it is not uncommon to find underage people binge drinking. This can result in dangerous and potentially life-threatening cases of alcohol poisoning. Unfortunately, fear of facing underage drinking charges often prevents the incident from being reported. This can end up having tragic consequences. As a means of ensuring victims get the help they need, Texas offers legal immunity against criminal charges for reporting cases in which alcohol poisoning is suspected.

Alcohol Poisoning Among Young People

Even adults can find themselves getting into trouble due to their alcohol use. Among young people, underage drinking is a common problem and a leading health concern. In addition to increasing their odds of suffering potentially life-threatening accidents and injuries, young people are at an increased risk for alcohol poisoning.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that underage drinkers are responsible for more than 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States. More than 90% of this is consumed through binge drinking. Binge drinking is defined as any excessive alcohol use. It typically consists of drinking more than four or five drinks within a two-hour period. This does not give the body enough time to adequately process or absorb the alcohol. Particularly in young people, it increases the risk of suffering alcohol poisoning. Symptoms include:

  • Extreme mental confusion;
  • Slurred speech;
  • Lack of coordination;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Loss of consciousness.

Protecting Underage Drinkers Who Report Alcohol Poisoning

Without proper medical care, alcohol poisoning can result in death. The Texas Alcohol Beverage Commision (TABC) advises that there have been several high profile cases in which young people who suffered symptoms of alcohol poisoning eventually died because friends were afraid of facing criminal charges if they notified police or emergency response workers.

To encourage prompt reporting and potentially save lives, Texas passed the 911 Lifeline Law in 2012. It grants immunity from prosecution for those who report incidents where alcohol poisoning is suspected. The caller will not be cited for underage drinking or for possession of alcohol by a minor provided they meet the following criteria:

  • They are the first person to notify law enforcement of the incident.
  • They remain at the scene until help arrives.
  • They cooperate with law enforcement and medical responders.

Get Protecting from Our Texas Underage Drinking Attorneys

At Scott M. Brown & Associates, we defend the rights of young people facing underage drinking charges. In cases where alcohol poisoning is suspected, we encourage you to notify the authorities immediately.  We can help protect you against any potential penalties that may result. Call or contact our League City underage drinking attorneys online and request a consultation today.

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