The Season is Here: Parents Beware of Underage Drinking During Prom

As high school students throughout New Jersey gear up for prom season, it is a good time to have the talk with your kids about underage drinking as well as the consequences of drinking and driving. Teens might say prom is all about finding the perfect dress or the popular restaurant to go to before the dance, but Garden State law enforcement and parents are concerned (rightfully so) that teens all too often associate high school prom with underage drinking.

Teens aren’t invincible (including on prom night). They should not see prom as an opportunity to go overboard celebrating by drinking and driving too fast – when they do, they’re taking an unnecessary risk with their lives and the lives of others. Unfortunately, these happy occasions can result in tragedy.

The Laws

The state of New Jersey has strict laws that prohibit underage drinking (including the possession of alcohol by a minor). The consequences of underage drinking (N.J.S.A. 2C: 33-15) in New Jersey and DWI convictions (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14) can carry some very harsh penalties and is taken very seriously. This is why you need an experienced DWI lawyer who is ready to fight to protect your rights. Villani & DeLuca has experienced criminal lawyers with over 20 years of experience, including a former municipal prosecutor.

The Truth

Despite all of the efforts — and all of the deaths – disturbing facts remain about youth and drinking. MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) says that half of all 10th graders say they drink alcohol, 30 percent of all 8th graders admit they have tried booze. Worse yet, some of these high schoolers are getting behind the wheel.

As posted in, “Message On Teen Drinking, Driving Dangers Making Headway,” sadly, for many high school students, the consequences of drinking and driving have touched too close to home. They have seen their own friends die for no reason other than they decided to drink and drive. Spring is the time of renewal, but unfortunately it has also been inscribed in our memory and the memory of countless others as the season of death.

The Talk

Parents can help keep kids safe on prom night with a few simple talking points:
• Communicate and know exactly where they’ll be throughout the evening and find out their transportation plans including who will be driving.
• Don’t give them permission to attend parties where you know alcohol will be served.
• Get all the details about prom night and the schedule from the school.
• Discuss the dangers of drinking and driving with your teen; including the sobering statistics.
• Encourage your teen to call you if they ever find themselves in a situation where they’re with an intoxicated driver or are too drunk to drive. It’s better for them to be safe than to be put in a dangerous position.
• Have your teen sign a “prom night pledge”, stating that he or she won’t drink and drive or ride with anyone who’s been drinking.
• When prom night arrives, stay in contact with your teen, and make sure they know their curfew.

Being involved will help your child remember your expectations and will make them much less likely to give in to peer pressure to drink.

The Help

If a drunk driver has injured you or a loved one or if you or your child is under the age of twenty-one and charged with underage drinking or an underage DWI in Monmouth County or Ocean County, contact Villani & DeLuca for a free case review at 888-389-9533. Don’t wait, consult with a New Jersey Underage Drinking Lawyer today to protect your rights.

Our New Jersey DWI attorneys at Villani & DeLuca, P.C. encourage all New Jersey teens to make a promise that applies during prom season and every season: Stay safe. Don’t drink and drive.