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Parent opinion about underage drinking doesn't impact the law

Are you a parent of a teenager? Do you know how your child feels about alcohol use or if he or she consumes alcohol? How do you feel and talk about underage drinking around your child? A parent's attitude about whether minors should drink can have a significant effect on whether their kid engages in underage drinking. 

This is a timely discussion because people in Baltimore and across the country are planning their spring break vacations. Some destinations, like Mexico, have lax drinking laws that kids might take advantage of while on vacation. This can create a dangerous situation. 

A recent Washington Post piece shares how an acting principal in an out-of-state high school is worried about the message that parents at her school are sending to teenagers. Essentially, the controversial question is whether it is responsible to allow teenagers to drink while on vacation because of lax drinking laws, even though they are still considered underage by U.S. legal standards. 

In Mexico, 18-year-olds can legally consume alcohol. But is it wise for parents to expect and accept that their kids will do so? This is a personal decision for every individual family. What is crucial to think about, however, is how the drinking laws in Maryland are strict. Someone under the age of 21 who is caught drinking, drunk and/or driving drunk can face harsh legal consequences -- even if their parents might not think the situation is a big deal. 

An underage drinking or underage DUI charge threatens a young person's future. Even if teen drinking might be a matter of opinion in a family's home, what should not be up for debate is the importance of turning to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as a teen is accused of wrongdoing. 

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