Teenage Drivers and Alcohol Make the Perfect Lethal Cocktail

Teenagers who drink and drive are at higher risk for serious injury and death than adults, because they’re more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol. In Minnesota, a DWI attorney in St. Paul can represent teenage drivers who are charged with a felony.

Effects of Alcohol on Teenagers

Compared to adults, teenagers are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol because their brains are still developing. Teenagers who drink alcohol have increased risks of both short-term and long-term negative effects.

Short-term effects include impaired vision, poor concentration, poor coordination, and slower response time. Alcohol increases risk-taking behaviors in teens, often the result of making choices without thinking about consequences. When teenagers drink alcohol, they experience an elevated mood when their blood alcohol level increases and, conversely, feel depressed when their blood alcohol level drops. These sudden mood changes can lead to irrational decisions which in turn lead to severe consequences.

Long-term effects include problems with memory, cognitive thinking, visual and spatial skills, and difficulty completing tasks. Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to learning and memory problems associated with alcohol. They often experience blackouts, periods of memory lapse following a bout of intoxication. Blackouts result from a high alcohol concentration in brain centers that control short-term memory. They can cause long-term damage to the hippocampus, the brain’s center that controls emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system.

Teenage Drunk Driving Statistics

Teens who drink and drive are more likely to be involved in a car accident than adults who drink and drive. Experts believe that short-term and long-term side effects of alcohol, combined with less driving experience, create the perfect lethal cocktail for teenagers. Teenage drunk driving statistics reveal:

  • Eight teenagers are killed every day from drunk driving
  • 40 percent of all alcohol-related car accidents involve teenagers
  • 60 percent of all teen fatalities in car accidents are alcohol-related
  • With a blood alcohol level of just 0.05, teenage boys are 18 times more likely to be involved in a car crash, and teenage girls are 54 times more likely
  • On average, boys take their first drink by age 11, and girls, by age 13

Statistics show that three million teenagers are alcoholics, and drinking often begins in middle school. More than half of high school seniors report that they have been drunk at least once while driving. A DWI attorney in St. Paul sees growing problems in Minnesota with accidents caused by teenagers who drink and drive.

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

People facing criminal charges in Minnesota often ask, “Can you defend yourself in court?” You can represent yourself in court when charged with a crime. Self-representation, however, is not typically in the accused's best interests, even if courts allow it.
Parents whose children have been arrested or accused of committing a heinous crime might wonder, “Can a minor be charged with a felony?” A minor aged 14 years or older but below 18 years may face felony charges in Minnesota.
People accused of or under investigation for assault might ask, “What are the charges for assault?” Minnesota has five levels of assault charges. First-degree assault is the most serious offense, and a conviction often results in the most severe penalties, like long prison time and hefty fines.