For years, San Diego DUI criminal defense attorneys have been representing youths accused of underage DUI. Now, a special unit of state investigators says determined teenagers are relying more on house parties and adults to get liquor.

Youths under 21 find a way to get alcohol, one way or another, San Diego DUI criminal defense lawyers are told.

What happens is, the minors go from Plan A to Plan B. And when the authorities develop effective strategies dealing with this, then they’ll go to Plan C.

DUI police track the source of alcohol after fatal or serious incidents involving intoxicated teenagers. Of 23 cases investigated in the county since 2006, 48 percent involved alcohol consumed at house parties, likely furnished by an adult.
The remainder of the cases were split evenly — either the alcohol was purchased by a minor at a business or the minor did a “shoulder tap” by asking an adult to buy it.

Target Responsibility For Alcohol Connected Emergencies, known as TRACE, is investigating who obtained the alcohol at a gathering at a Rancho Santa Fe home last weekend. A carload of five seniors from Torrey Pines High School crashed after leaving the house and one boy was killed.

State alcohol investigators say North County has become one of the state’s hot spots for deaths and injuries involving underage drinking. The region’s dark, winding, rural roads are believed to play a role.

Under the county’s social host ordinance, party hosts serving alcohol are required to verify the age of guests and control minors’ access to alcohol. The law applies to adults and minors who are hosts, and violations are punishable by up to six months in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.

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