In Louisiana, the legal drinking age is 21, just as it is in the rest of the United States. Many locals and visitors, however, fail to follow these rules. As our New Orleans DUI law firm mentioned in a recent video on minors in possession of alcohol, underage drinking is becoming a big issue in the state and police are cracking down. This is an especially big problem during Mardi Gras, but is also an issue any time of the year at bars located near schools throughout Louisiana. Recently, for example, The Advocate indicated that 15 Louisiana bars were notified by the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control that the bars would be shut down unless they come up with a plan to curtain illegal alcohol sales to minors. The warning came after a three-month undercover operation in which officers identified the bars selling both beer and whisky to minors. Some of the clubs were also found to be operating without an alcohol permit. Underage Alcohol Consumption is a Big Issue The undercover operation identifying the 15 bars serving alcohol to minors was just one of many attempts by law enforcement to crack down on teens and college students who drink in the state of Louisiana. The Minors in Possession video on BloomLegalTV warns party-goers that the state and federal government have made more money for enforcement available to crack down on underage drinking. This has led to more police on Bourbon Street who could ticket anyone under the age of 21 who is walking around with a drink. This is true even if you’re holding a drink for a friend or if you aren’t physically consuming the alcohol. If you are under the legal age and you have a drink in your hand, you could be in legal trouble. While Louisiana bar owners could be at risk of losing their license if they don’t do something to stop underage drinking, those who are stopped by officers and found to be in violation of this law could face arrest and criminal prosecution for a misdemeanor offense. Minors in Possession is a Misdemeanor Offense As our New Orleans DUI law firm explains in the Minors in Possession video, many people think that there is a difference between getting arrested and getting a ticket for underage drinking. The fact is, the only real difference is that an arrest results in you spending the night in jail. Whether you are arrested or whether you receive a citation for being in possession of alcohol when you are underage, you could end up with a criminal record that stays with you for life. Many people who contact a New Orleans DUI law firm believe that just paying the ticket is the best way to handle the minors-in-possession charge, since the fine is usually only around $200 to $300 depending upon the circumstances. The cost in lost opportunity, though, could be far greater than this small fine. Even celebrities and reality TV stars can face lifelong consequences for an underage drinking offense, as Radar Online has recently reported that a Phoenix Suns NBA Dancer who was once arrested and fined $100 for drinking still has the “possession of alcohol” charge on her record. While your own arrest as an underage teen having fun in New Orleans may never be fodder for the tabloids, it could cost you a job in the future or admission to a graduate program. Don’t take the chance of a simple mistake affecting your life- contact the New Orleans DUI law firm of Bloom Legal for help with your arrest or citation.