Boone County State's Attorney Michelle Courier announced Friday the launch of a new diversion program for adolescents arrested for underage drinking.
The aim of the program is to educate adolescents about the impact alcohol will have on their lives and to provide them the life skills they need to reduce the likelihood of further legal involvement. In return, the program gives the incentive to adolescents who complete the program successfully to minimize legal costs and avoid having a criminal record.
In order to qualify for the program the adolescent has to be a first-time offender, under the age of twenty-one and not driving at the time of the offense. The adolescent would be given the opportunity to enter into an agreement to participate in a two-day educational program that assesses the adolescent's risks of alcohol abuse. It would also educate them on the negative legal, financial, physical, and psychological consequences from substance use.
If the adolescent successfully completes the program and does not get into trouble for six months, the underage drinking charge will be dismissed.
The program fee for the adolescent is $200, which is significantly less than the fines and court costs assessed following court proceedings.