State liquor officers arrested 189 people for underage drinking-related offenses at this month’s Country Thunder music festival in Florence, The Associated Press reports. Most of those arrested were charged with underage possession of alcohol, using a fake ID to buy alcohol, or furnishing alcohol to a minor. Police also made 24 DUI arrests, 8 of which were for extreme DUI.
According to the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control, the four-day festival has been plagued with underage drinking in the past. This year, the liquor control agency deployed officers to work with state police in combating underage drinking at the event.
According to authorities, minors were not only drinking at the event, but drinking a lot. Many of the people arrested for underage drinking had blood-alcohol levels that were more than twice the legal limit of .08 percent, according to Liquor Control Sgt. Wes Kuhl.
Under Arizona law, it’s illegal for anyone 21 or over to give or sell liquor to an underage person. Furnishing alcohol to a minor is punishable by a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. However, the adults aren’t the only ones who are punished. It’s also a Class 3 misdemeanor in Arizona for an underage person to solicit others to purchase alcohol for them.
Fortunately, those who were arrested at the festival were unable to drive home in their inebriated states. Arizona has a zero-tolerance policy for underage individuals. That means that if a person under the age of 21 is caught driving with any alcohol at all in their system, they can be charged with underage DUI. Underage DUI is punishable by high fines, 2 years of probation, and the installation of an ignition interlock device on the offender’s car. In addition, underage possession of an alcoholic beverage alone can lead to misdemeanor charges and heavy fines.
“Underage drinking has been a problem every year at Country Thunder,” Sgt. Kuhl said. Hopefully, the huge amount of arrests at this year’s festival will deter many underage attendees from drinking at next year’s Country Thunder.
- Find a Phoenix DUI Attorney (FindLaw)
- Country Thunder Follow-Up: 24 DUI Arrests, 9 Underage-Drinking Violations (Arizona Daily Star)
- Arizona DUI Laws (FindLaw)
- Deputies Detain 65 Underage Students at Prom After-Party (FindLaw’s Phoenix DUI Blog)