Town Considers Loosening Alcohol Laws For Teens

Police in a Massachusetts town are considering changing the punishment for teens caught with alcohol.

Duxbury's police chief has proposed decriminalizing drinking for minors, meaning it would result in a fine instead of an arrest.

Jennifer Klein is a mother of three in town. She's for it, and she has experience, having received a minor in possession of alcohol summons in Arizona when she was 16.

"I was really compelled in subsequent months to really think about what I was doing and who I was doing it with. There was the loss of trust issue with my dad," she said. "I can still see his face when I went home and told him."

She believes saddling a teen with a criminal record for one mistake is not the way to go. Her 16-year-old son, Piers, agrees.

"In the past, if you got caught at a party, either your parents would be called or you'd be arrested," said Piers Klein. "Nobody wants to be arrested in high school."

Some in town are concerned about unforeseen consequences.

"I just wouldn't want to see a lot of tragedy come from it," said Jill Stewart, who works in town.

Stewart was talking about a drunken car crash with a teen at the wheel - one who'd been cited before.

"I think there should be a limit on how many times you get stopped," said Bertha Santelli. "Like baseball, three strikes, you're out. I think there should be parameters."

Faith Fleming: "I think it should be up to each individual situation, because you don't want to give them a criminal record if its a minor offense," said Faith Fleming. "Obviously drinking and driving, that's a non-no."

Wednesday's meeting was informational. People will be able to vote at a town meeting on Saturday.

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