The state of Oklahoma has a population of nearly four million citizens. Of this number, 469,000 Oklahomans are under 21.
Among Oklahomans aged 12 to 20, 20 percent reported using alcohol within the past month. Among young adults aged 18 to 20, the number reporting past-month alcohol use jumped to 40 percent. Most underage drinking is done among college-aged youths, whether or not they attend a university.
Here are a handful of Oklahoma laws regarding alcohol use and possession by those under 21.
In Oklahoma, as in every other state in the US, it is illegal for anyone under 21 to purchase alcohol.
While a handful of states allow alcohol consumption by anyone under 18, the majority have exceptions to the rule. In many states, including Oklahoma, minors may be permitted to drink small amounts of alcohol under a parent or legal guardian’s direct supervision.
The Social Host Law
It’s worth noting that adults of drinking age can still be held liable for underage drinking fines and penalties thanks to the “social host” law. If there is a gathering on private property where people under 21 are drinking, the person who provides the location can be held legally responsible as the social host. Regardless of whether they are there or provided the underage persons with alcohol, the property owner could still be charged. Both adults and minors are held accountable under this directive.
Underage Drinking and Driving
While the legal limit in Oklahoma is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08, any BAC over 0 is illegal for drivers under 21.
Oklahoma law states that underage drinkers can be subjected to loss of driving privileges. This is an overarching punitive system that applies to any person caught and charged with underage drinking, not just those who drink and drive. An underage drinker can have their driver’s license suspended or revoked for up to 180 days as a mandatory punishment for purchasing, consuming, or being in possession of alcohol.
Although there are ways to bend the rules, it’s still possible to get into trouble with the law. Not to mention, you may also be putting yourself and others in harm’s way.
Drinking at any age can be risky, even dangerous, especially when consumed in large amounts. Alcohol impairs judgment, cognition, motor function, and response times. Because of this, drinking to excess can make individuals more likely to do uncharacteristic things.
Those under the influence are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior, experiment with drugs, become aggressive/violent, or get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. In 2018 alone, approximately 16 percent of Oklahoma’s fatal car crashes involved a 15-20-year-old driver with a BAC greater than 0.01.
If you are underage and struggling with alcohol abuse in Oklahoma, it is important to know the laws and how they can affect you, both now and in the future. Beyond the legal repercussions, your health may also be at risk. Living sober might seem like an impossible goal, but we’re here to help. Reach out to Landmark Recovery today to learn how to get started.
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