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Governor Signs Runner's Underage Drinking Bill

Bill provides larger penalties for underage drinking offenses

ImageAssemblywoman Sharon Runner joined Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at a press conference today to announce the signing of AB 1658 into law, a bill that increases penalties for underage drinking and the manufacturing of fraudulent identification cards.

 

“I am excited that the Governor has signed this bill into law,” Assemblywoman Runner said.  “We need to provide law enforcement officials with all of the tools necessary to combat underage drinking and protect Californians.”  

 

The bill enhances current law restricting access to alcohol for minors by increasing the fine to $250 for the first violation and $500 for the second violation.  In addition, this bill will address the problem of manufacturing and selling fake identification cards, such as a driver’s license, by increasing the fine from $500 to $1,000 and requiring 24 hours of community service of those found guilty of this crime.

 

“The cost of underage drinking in the United States is over $58 billion annually or nearly $600 per American household each and every year,” Runner said. “AB 1658 increases penalties for violations to better reflect the dangers of underage drinking and its costs to society.”

 

Additionally, the bill clarifies the penal code to ensure that the driver’s license suspension mandate is enforced. 

 

“Having your driver’s license suspended is a major deterrent for any teenager and this bill will better protect our youth from the dangers of underage drinking,” Runner said. 

 

“Alcohol is involved in nearly one-third of youth traffic fatalities,” Runner added.  “Underage alcohol use is also associated with violence, suicide, educational failure and other behavior problems.” 

 

The law will go into effect on January 1, 2008.