A spokesperson for the North Carolina Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement says that after the party is over, an alleged underage drinker may not be free from being charged later for an alleged alcohol offense. The ALE special agent made the statement as officials announced charges brought after an alleged Johnston County, North Carolina party last month. A 21-year-old was charged for allegedly buying 60 beers that were given to underage drinkers.
ALE officials say that an 18-year-old high school student was killed in a crash involving a driver who had allegedly attended the party. Police charged the 17-year-old accused of driving a truck that rolled over February 16 with felony death by vehicle, DWI and underage DUI after the wreck.
Thursday, ALE officials announced charges against the 21-year-old and a 16-year-old who is accused of hosting the underage drinking party. Police opened a probe into the party after the car accident, searching for names of other alleged attendees at the party.
Based upon that investigation, ALE agents say that about a dozen people will be facing underage alcohol charges. Some of the teens are also accused of possessing marijuana at the party. The special agent said in announcing the charges that, “Kids should know that even though the police don’t show up at the party they can still be charged.”
Underage drinking charges in North Carolina can bring long-lasting consequences for a person convicted of the charges. For anyone over the age of 16, charges are filed in adult court. Signing a ticket and paying a fine to get it over with, or otherwise simply pleading guilty to a charge, creates a criminal record. For high school kids, that means background checks for future jobs, college, joining the military, or other life events may turn up a criminal record.
Source: The Smithfield Herald, “12 people face alcohol-related charges after wreck that killed a Johnston County teen,” Thomasi McDonald, March 6, 2013