While some people in Dutchess County may believe that a drunk driving conviction is relatively minor, they may not understand just how serious of a charge it can really be. Not only will a conviction mean a permanent record, but it could also mean the loss of a driver's license, a fine or even jail time. For someone under the age of 21, however, the consequences are even more serious.
Underage drinking is a serious concern for many parents, police officers and establishments that sell alcohol. It can be bad enough when adults drive while intoxicated, but a person under the age of 21 who is driving drunk can be potentially more dangerous. Underage drinking also has many negative consequences that can shatter a strong educational future. The following story about one area's efforts to stop alcohol sales to minors may interest readers in Poughkeepsie.
In 2008, Dutchess County adopted the state of New York's "Social Host Law." The law says that any adult - 18 years of age or older - will face consequences for allowing anyone under 21 years old to drink alcohol at their residence. The basic idea was to hold those over 18 responsible whenever they permitted the consumption of alcohol by minors. The only exception to the rule would be if a parent gave their express permission to their own children to drink alcoholic beverages in their presence, or as part of a religious observance. The first criminal offense would carry consequences anywhere from a fine of $250 up to a year in a jail.