Prom season is almost upon us, and agents with the Ohio Department of Public Safety's Investigative Unit want to remind everyone that providing alcohol to minors and underage drinking are illegal.

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Prom season is almost upon us, and agents with the Ohio Department of Public Safety's Investigative Unit want to remind everyone that providing alcohol to minors and underage drinking are illegal.

"As a parent of two adult children, I can tell you this time in your child's life is one of the most memorable for you and for them," said ODPS Director John Born. "As a retired member of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, I can also tell you this time of celebration can easily turn into a time of tragedy because of the increased occurrences of underage drinking that may tempt your child at after-prom parties and graduation celebrations."

Parents and teens need to understand Ohio's underage drinking laws, so here's a refresher course:

  • It is illegal to provide a place for your child and his/her friends to drink in a "safe" environment. In fact, parents may not provide alcohol to children who are under 21, who are not their own, even in their own home with the other parents' permission. Those convicted of providing alcohol to a person under 21 years of age face maximum sentences of six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
  • It is illegal to purchase alcohol for anyone under 21. Anyone who purchases, sells or gives alcoholic beverages to anyone who is underage faces a $1,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail
  • If you are under 21 and are caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .02 percent or higher, you can be arrested. Punishment includes suspension of your license for at least 90 days up to two years, plus four points added to your driving record. Having an open container of alcohol in any vehicle is also illegal

If you see a bar, store or drive-thru selling beer or liquor to anyone who is underage, or if you have information about an underage house party, please dial #677 on your cell phone to alert the Ohio Investigative Unit, who is responsible for enforcing the state's liquor laws.

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