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Prom season is an alert for adults to not provide alcohol to those who are underage

ST. PAUL -- As prom season ramps up for high schools, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety is reminding parents, teens and others of the dangers of underage drinking, and the legal consequences of providing alcohol to minors.

A number of communities, Willmar included, have adopted "social host'' ordinances. They make it unlawful to host an event or gathering where alcohol is present and possessed or consumed by anyone under the age of 21.

No matter where it may occur, adults who provide alcohol to minors can be held responsible and face criminal, legal and financial consequences.

To ensure a safe night of celebration, the Department of Public Safety also stresses that prom-bound teens use seat belts, pay attention behind the wheel, speak up to stop unsafe driving behaviors, and to refrain from drinking and driving.

The state's "Not a Drop" law says driving minors cited for consuming any amount of alcohol will lose their license for a period of anywhere form 30 days to 180 days, and face up to a $700 fine and 90 days in jail.

A citation of this nature will also stay on the driver's record for 15 years. There were nearly 7,000 "not a drop" convictions issued to underage drivers during 2005-2007.

Minors will lose their license until age 18 when arrested for DWI or involved in an impaired driving crash or crime.

A DWI offense can result in one year in jail, and cost up to $20,000 when factoring in legal fees and increased insurance rates. A DWI remains on a person's record for 15 years.