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23 percent of teens drive under influence of alcohol, drugs

The legal age to consume alcohol in Georgia is 21. However, many folks in Athens and throughout the country understand that many teens and young adults have consumed alcohol on one or several occasions by the time they turn 21. And because parents can't always control what their teens do, many parents do try to make sure their teens understand the importance of drinking responsibly in order to avoid causing harm to themselves or others if they do partake in underage drinking.

To the surprise of many parents, though, the results of a recent survey suggest that many teens are making dangerous decisions when they choose to consume alcohol.

According to the survey, about 1 in 4 teens admit to drinking and driving, or using drugs and driving. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and dangerous; however, the survey also revealed that nearly half of the teens who admitted to drinking and driving do not think that alcohol, marijuana or other drugs affect their ability to drive safely. Even though young drivers may not be drunk, they should understand that they may still be arrested for drunk driving and face serious criminal charges.

Students Against Destructive Decisions had conducted the survey. Although many folks may not be surprised to learn that many teens engage in underage drinking, some folks may be surprised by this survey after learning that nearly 25 percent of teens who are at least 16 admit to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Teens may feel fine to drive after consuming a small amount of alcohol, but if they are pulled over by police and suspected of driving under the influence, teens could face serious criminal charges.

The legal limit for drivers who are 21 or older is 0.08 in Georgia. However, teens or other drivers who are under 21 may face underage DUI charges for a blood alcohol reading of 0.02. A conviction for underage drunk driving may result in severe consequences, including the suspension of one's driver's license for at least six months.

Underage DUI charges are serious, even when cases involve arrests of folks whose blood alcohol readings were lower than 0.08 at the time of an arrest. However, students and young adults may be able to minimize the negative effects of an arrest or conviction by consulting an aggressive defense attorney immediately after an arrest.

Source: NBC 11 News, "1 in 4 teens admits driving under the influence," May 2, 2013