Martin & Kent, L.L.C. Martin & Kent, L.L.C.

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Clear rules could reduce teen drinking

Illinois parents may have a relatively easy way to reduce the odds that their children drink alcohol. In a study of more than 1,100 teenagers and young adults in 24 different cities, it was found that they were less likely to drink when their parents set clear rules prohibiting that activity.

Of those who participated in the study, 658 said that they had been to a party with alcohol present within the past 30 days. They teens were 38 percent less likely to consume alcohol at such a party when their parents had rules forbidding it. The researchers involved with the study say that this simple fact could be empowering for parents looking to protect their children from the dangers of alcohol. Dangers of consuming alcohol include liver disease as well as an increase in the chances of committing violence, engaging in vandalism or being charged with drunk driving.

While intriguing, researchers acknowledged that there were some limitations to the study. For instance, 76 percent of the respondents were white, which means the results may not apply to other groups. It was also unclear whether it was better for parents to prevent their teens from attending parties or whether curfews were equally effective. Researchers also didn't take into account birth order of the teens or the religious views of the parents.

Teen drivers who drive while under the influence of alcohol could be charged with DUI. They could face a license suspension until the age of 21 or other penalties including a fine or jail time. An attorney may be able to cast doubt on the charge by claiming that the traffic stop that led to the charge was conducted without probable cause. Police reports or other statements used to charge a driver may also be disputed.

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