Underage drinking law starts

A new law to crack down on underage drinking will take effect on today. Act 203, also known as the “use and lose” law, will suspend the driving privileges of any person under 21 who illegally purchases, possesses or consumes alcohol, according to Gov. Linda Lingle’s office.

The violator’s driver’s license will be suspended for at least 180 days. If the individual is not licensed to drive, a judge would have the discretion to postpone eligibility to obtain a license for 180 days or until the person turns 17.

“The ‘use and lose’ law makes it very clear to teens that if they drink, they will lose their driver’s license and the freedom that comes with it,” Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona Jr. said in a release.

Aiona signed the law in June and has long been dedicated to fighting underage drinking.

Violators will also be required to perform 75 hours of community service and undergo eight to 12 hours of alcohol education and counseling.

Thirty-six other states already have some form of a use and lose law on the books.

“The law serves as a reminder to children and adults that underage drinking is unsafe and unhealthy, and will not be condoned in our community,” Aiona said. “This new law provides another tool to help keep our keiki safe and alcohol free.”

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