Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Consequences of Underage Drinking...

I was in traffic court this afternoon when an officer from another agency in the region came up to bat. He went through his testimony about seeing the nineteen year old defendant sucking on a can of Bud Light, and how he waltzed over and contacted the defendant, identifying him and confirming he was not of drinking age.

When it was the defendant's turn to speak, he didn't have much to say other than to argue that the ticket was not valid because the officer didn't sign it.

The judge found the defendant guilty, and excused the officer. Then he asked the defendant if he had a driver's license with him today. The defendant replied that he did, and the judge asked him to hand it to the bailiff.

When the traffic commissioner had the defendant's driver license in hand, he informed the poor schmuck that his driving privilege was suspended forthwith, until July of next year.

A gasp went up from the other occupants of the courtroom, and I'm sure I heard a dull thud when the defendant's jaw hit the table.

Even I have never seen that happen.

The moral of the story is this. If you're not 21, you shouldn't be drinking. If you get caught drinking, even if you're nowhere NEAR a car, your license can be suspended by the court.

I, for one, plan to write more underage drinking tickets (meaning issue fewer warnings and pour out less beer) now that I know that.

And it wasn't even for GOOD beer...


Jackie said...

OUCH! that's tough!

just move to Canada, part os canada the legal drinking age is 18!


suz said...

Smart judge! GO FOR IT!!!

Kenneth said...

We need to get the law changed on drinking. This kid is not going to have an easy time keeping a job or going to school with out a driver's license. He's old enough to die for our country, but he can't even drink a beer; It's just as well I guess; without a driver's license, joining the milatary is probably going to be his best option now.

HonkingAntelope said...

I guess the kid would just have to either bum rides or switch cars with a friend who has a record clean enough that nothing would come up if an officer were to run the plate, and drive like a granny until the suspension runs out.

For all the platitudes about driving being a privilege bestowed by the state of CA upon the privileged chosen few, owning a vehicle and being able to drive it legally is a necessity when it comes to day-to-day life. You may be able to get away with not having a car if you live in San Francisco, but outside of that, even a trip to the nearest 7-11 will be a problem if you don't have a car or a valid driver's license.

The fact that someone can join the military and operate weapon systems that can kill dozens of people at the push of a button before being able to legally drink a beer is beyond brain-dead.

Steve'nLubbock said...

Good for the judge! Here in West Texas we've had 3 deaths in 3 DUI accidents this week, all involving younger drivers. So sad.

Moose said...

That judge is my hero.

Jay said...

Ah, if only you allowed to post a video so we could all see that look. :-)

Another Fatso said...

That's great. I think all underage drinkers and all first time "simple" DUIs should lose their licenses for at least a year.

SunTzu said...

Wow, this is stupid on so many levels. First of all, having a drinking age set as high as 21 is incredibly counter-productive. It doesnt stop youths from drinking, it makes them drink less openly, which is a very bad thing. Secondly, what in the world does drinking have to do with the ability to drive a car? In Sweden, you can loose your driving license for drinking (while not driving) only if theres a diagnosis of alchoholism, and a great risk of said person later driving under the influence. Loosing your license cus you drank a beer? Beyond retarded. And you guys wonder why your crime rates and % of people in prison just keeps going up? Here's a hint: Your legal system is an international joke.

Officer "Smith" said...


I disagree with driving being a necessity. There are PLENTY of other ways to get around if one cannot legally drive. Just in the bay area we have buses, BART, taxis, bicycles and the ubiquitous friend.

I don't buy the excuse that everyone NEEDS to drive to live in CA. That's bullshit. I f I want to I can hop on my bike and pedal my ass down to the 7-11. I CHOOSE not to since I am one of your "privileged chosen few" who has bothered to demonstrate my skills at safely operating a vehicle, and taken a test to show that I know the appropriate laws (or at least I did when I took the test), and the State has seen fit to license me to operate a motor vehicle.


Our crime rates and prison population keep going up partly BECAUSE of the preponderance of underage drinking and drug use. When I come across a twelve year old who is so drunk and stoned he has pissed all over himself and can't stand up, we're not off to a good start.

And to think people actually want to LEGALIZE marijuana use, and you suggest LOWERING the drinking age.


And you say WE'RE retarded.

Marjorie said...

I agree that an automatic driving ban for any drink-driving is sensible (I'm pretty sure that it carries an automatic 12 month ban here in the UK) but would have to agree that if this ban was solely because he had a drink while under 21 then that's inappropriate.

Mind you, I find a system in which one can legally drive at age 16 but cannot legally drink until age 21 very strange - while irresponsible underage drinking is a major problem I think that a total ban for under 21s is counter-productive - it drives drinking underground, gives it the appeal of the forbidden.
At 18 you are considered an adult, able to marry, join the army etc. It seems bizarre that you are not allowed to drink at that age.

I think that your point about adrunk 12 year old is a bit of a red herring so far as the issue of a legal drinking age is concerend. No-one would (or was) suggesting that 12 years old getting drunk is anything other than a problem, but clearly having a drinking age of 21 isn't stopping that, and there is no reason to suppose that lowering the legal age to 18 would make that worse.

HonkingAntelope said...

"demonstrate my skills at safely operating a vehicle...the State has seen fit to license me to operate a motor vehicle."

Hah! Considering that the standard California Class C driving test doesn't even require the candidate to demonstrate the ability to safely merge into medium freeway traffic moving at 70-80mph (No, obliviously rolling off the ramp at 45 mph and forcing everyone to swerve outta the way does not a safe merge make!), or the ability to safely execute an emergency lane change, this state's definition of being able to "safely" operate a vehicle is just one notch above driving a car at .20% BAC. The only places that teach people to drive properly are the police high-speed EVOC classes and racing schools. You obviously passes the EVOC and I respect that :)

As for driving legally being a necessity rather than a luxury in 99% of California, I won't spend too much time arguing that point since you've already made up your mind on it. Let me just ask you one question:

The penalties for driving while suspended almost rival that of DUI even for the first-time offenses, let alone repeated offenses. While alcoholism is an addiction, you state that driving is not really a necessity. Think about this. How many repeat suspended license offenders have you caught? Now, why would those people hit the road knowing full well that they would get arrested, get their car impounded, may be possibly looking at some jailtime, and sure as hell have no hope of getting their license back until they pay a good four-digit donation to California's court system?

Gator Girl Tales said...

Wow! Good job on that judge's part for enforcing that!! :)