A Teenager’s Guide to Georgia Law

Many teenagers are not aware of what laws affect them, or are ignorant that the consequences of committing a crime will actually happen to them. It is important for teenagers to understand their rights, and that is why attorney J. Tom Morgan will be presenting a program titled, “A Teenagers Guide to Georgia Law.” Georgia teenagers will be given advice about teen-specific laws and consequences that is important for them to understand, specifically regarding alcohol, drugs and sex.

For example, if a 17-year-old boy takes a pornographic photo of his 17-year-old girlfriend and sends it to his friend; both boys are guilty of a 20-year felony. In Georgia, sending a pornographic photo via text message of someone under the age of 18 is a felony, even if the sender is a minor.

One aspect of Georgia law that is often misunderstood by teenagers has to do with underage drinking and driving. While many teenagers think they can have a few drinks and drive without getting a DUI, this is not true. The blood alcohol level in Georgia must be .02 or higher for an underage person to get a DUI, and many teens don’t realize that only one drink will often put them over this limit. For anyone under the age of 21 to get behind the wheel of a vehicle with any alcohol on their breath, they are absolutely risking, and probably will get, a DUI.

Another common question teens often ask is if an underage person is at a party that has alcohol, but is not drinking, can they be arrested? The answer is no. It is not against the law to be at a party where kids are drinking alcohol; it’s just against the law to be drinking as well. If police do come and you have not been drinking, Morgan recommends asking for a Breathalyzer to prove your innocence.

Morgan, the author of “Ignorance is No Defense,” a guide for teenagers and their parents on Georgia law, wants to provide teens and their parents with information meant to deter the act of crimes, as well as to help teens avoid becoming the victims of crimes. He believes most young people will make wiser decisions if they have given it some thought ahead of time and have the legal knowledge.

Kathy Hodges, a counselor at Savannah Country Day School where the program will be held, said the program will help students to make good decisions. “We’re concerned that kids can make decisions without really understanding the full ramifications of them,” said Hodges. “We feel that part of our obligation in educating kids is to help them understand the consequences of decisions.”

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