Question: I am writing because my daughter called me from jail and told me she was arrested for DUI. She is only 17 years old and said that she and a friend were drinking cooking wine that they got from a grocery store. They said they bought some chips, dip and the cooking wine at the supermarket and then drank it and got drunk. I've heard from 2 friends that their kids have also done this.
I asked my daughter and she said that no one asked her for identification when she bought the cooking wine. She said no one gave her a second look. They just let her buy it.
She and her friend drank it and then my daughter drove to another friend's house. On the way to her friend, she got stopped for weaving by a Sandy Springs police officer. The Sandy Springs cop wrote on the citation that she almost hit another car.
I know cooking wine isn't made to drink and I know that it tastes pretty bad if you drink it. Have you heard of people drinking cooking wine? Is it any defense that she bought it and was never asked for ID?
L.C. in Sandy Springs, GA
Answer: It is becoming common for some teens to purchase and drink cooking wine. While the wine is very salty, it also has as much alcohol as regular wine, approximately 17%. And we've heard that it is easier to buy than other alcoholic beverages because sometimes there is no identification of age required to buy it.
Because of the high sodium content, it can contribute to maladies like high blood pressure and kidney disease. And the hang over from it can be much more severe because the extra sodium causes dehydration.
As for a legal defense, it will not help that she bought it without being asked for ID. For a DUI conviction, the prosecution needs only to show that she was a less safe driver because she ingested alcohol. It doesn't matter how she got the alcohol.
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