Those caught underage drinking will no longer be sent to jail if Governor Deal signs Georgia Senate Bill 160. This bill will allow for persons caught underage drinking to be given a citation instead of being put behind bars.
The exception to this bill is that someone may be arrested for a single charge if an officer feels that the person is at health risk. An underage person may also be arrested for public intoxication if they are being loud or obnoxious.
The main purpose of this bill is to distinguish between those drinking underage and those actually abusing alcohol. According to Georgia State Senator Michael Williams, the bill is supported by both police officers and those under the legal age of 21. Police will have more time to focus on issues other than underage drinking.
A UGA student, who wishes to remain anonymous, says that they were arrested for drinking in their freshman dorm room. The student says, “I feel like a citation in that situation would have gotten the message across just as much.”
While the number of UGA students who have been arrested for underage drinking has decreased over the past four years, the bill would decrease this number even more.