Does Legal Immunity Protect Underage Drinkers?

When underage drinkers suffer from alcohol poisoning, their friends can call for help under Texas immunity laws. However, teens must understand the limitations of the law.

Young people in Texas and all across the country like to have a drink with their friends sometimes. In fact, according to the CDC, young people aged 12 to 20 make up 11% of all alcohol consumption in the country. Most of the time, alcohol consumed by young adults is done while binge drinking. Teens typically engage in this behavior to have fun, but it can quickly become a dangerous situation. Many stories have come out across the country of young people becoming seriously hurt after consuming too much alcohol. Sometimes, alcohol poisoning is fatal.

It is for this reason that many states are starting to grant underage drinkers immunity when calling for help for a friend. In Texas, that immunity is known as the 911 Lifeline Legislation.

911 Lifeline Legislation

According to the 911 Lifeline Legislation, also known as Senate Bill 1331, if someone suffers from alcohol poisoning, underage drinkers can call for help. They can do so without fear of repercussion for possessing or consuming alcohol. However, this immunity is limited. Only the first person who calls for help is given immunity by the state.

Immunity is only granted if the person that calls for help also stays on the scene. That person must cooperate with law enforcement and medical personnel once they arrive. While the law provides immunity from underage drinking charges, it does not provide complete immunity. That means officers could charge a young person with another crime, such as drug possession, if they found additional evidence at the scene.

How to Spot the Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is a condition that results from drinking too much alcohol in a short period of time. The condition can affect a person’s breathing, heart rate, body temperature, and gag reflex. In the most serious cases, it can lead to coma, or even death. Everyone should know the signs of alcohol poisoning, so they can help someone else in trouble. These signs include:

● Confusion

● Vomiting

● Seizures

● Skin that is pale or blue

● Cold skin, indicating low body temperature

● Unconsciousness

Additionally, slow breathing and irregular breathing are two of the most common signs associated with alcohol poisoning. Slow breathing in teenagers is considered less than eight breaths per minute. Irregular breathing occurs when there are more than 10 seconds between breaths.

It is important for anyone, regardless of their age, helps someone they suspect is suffering from alcohol poisoning. Calling for help could save a person’s life.

Facing Charges? Call Our Austin Criminal Defense Attorneys for Help

It is true that underage drinkers have immunity if they call for medical help for a friend. Unfortunately, law enforcement does not always abide by this law. If you have been charged with underage drinking, or any other crime, you need the help of a Travis County criminal defense attorney.

At Granger and Mueller, PC, we are passionate about helping those accused get their charges reduced or dismissed. We will protect your rights and create a strong defense to give you the best chance of a positive outcome. Call us today at (512) 474-9999 or contact us online so we can start reviewing your case.

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