I was asked the other day what the consequences are of a minor in possession/consumption of alcohol. Interesting question with the new laws in effect now. Lets say you were never in a car, you are 18 years old, and you rinsed our mouth out with Listerine. An officer comes up to you and says I smell alcohol on you, please blow into my little breath test machine. You do so. Wow, you just registered a .02 with your good breath. Now what?
Pursuant to Utah Code 32a-12-209 you have just committed a crime. The code makes it a crime for a minor (under 21) to have any measurable or detectable amount of alcohol in your body. The harshest consequence that is now mandatory, even though you were not driving or even near a car, is that you will lose your license for one year.
Here is the exact language from the statute.
32A-12-209. Unlawful purchase, possession, consumption by minors — Measurable amounts in body.
(1) Unless specifically authorized by this title, it is unlawful for a minor to:
(a) purchase an alcoholic beverage or product;
(b) attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage or product;
(c) solicit another person to purchase an alcoholic beverage or product;
(d) possess an alcoholic beverage or product;
(e) consume an alcoholic beverage or product; or
(f) have measurable blood, breath, or urine alcohol concentration in the minor’s body.
…(4) If a minor is found by a court to have violated this section and the violation is the minor’s second or subsequent violation of this section, the court:
(a) shall order the minor to participate in an educational series as defined in Section 41-6a-501; and
(b) may order the minor to participate in a screening as defined in Section 41-6a-501.
(5) (a) When a minor who is at least 18 years old, but younger than 21 years old, is found by a court to have violated this section, except as provided in Section 32A-12-223, the court hearing the case shall suspend the minor’s driving privileges under Section 53-3-219. (the division shall: (A) impose a suspension for a period of one year;)