College campuses typically have drinking policies that mirror nearby cities regarding on-campus or nearby alcohol use. Students must follow state and municipal regulations covering matters like underage drinking and zoning restrictions even though the campus may have its own drinking and academic policies (i.e., no drinking in public places).
Students may even be arrested for breaking school rules at most big institutions, which have their own campus police. Although they may or may not be different from college policies, students are often bound by the city’s alcohol laws where the campus is located.
What Are Some Concerns Relating to Drinking in College?
Campus regulations are typically designed to deter students from risky drinking habits and deter them from binge drinking. Even municipal laws may reflect this, as local alcohol regulations in the neighborhood may differ from those in the rest of the city (for instance, shops close to colleges frequently don’t sell hard liquor).
Some issues with drinking in college could be:
- Binge drinking (students drinking heavily for several consecutive days)
- Minors drinking
- Drinking at events (students consuming large amounts of alcohol during a party)
- Fraternity/Sorority Hazing: Some collegiate organizations include unofficially drinking in their “pledging” procedures.
- Minor in possession of alcohol: Minors are typically not permitted to possess alcohol, even if they don’t consume it.
Other risks are associated with student drinking, such as using alcohol for date rape and poisoning from beverages laced with narcotics or other substances.
What are Laws Against Underage Drinking?
Laws against underage drinking aim to reduce the prevalence of alcohol usage among those under 21. A widespread problem, underage drinking has long-lasting effects on society.
The following regulations were put into place to lessen the prevalence of underage drinking and make it unlawful for children to:
- Drink alcohol
- Purchase alcohol or attempt to do so
- Own a phony ID or falsely claim their age
- Drive even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is a trace level; laws vary by state
What Are Charges for “Minor in Possession”?
In many states, whether or not a juvenile was actively using drugs or alcohol, just having them in their hands constitutes a felony. Different “Minor in Possession” laws from different states may govern these offenses.
Anyone under 18 is typically referred to as a “minor.” However, for crimes involving alcohol, it relates to the legal drinking age, not the age of majority.
In this article, minors and “underage persons” refer to those under 21.
Minors are subject to the worst legal punishments in some states. Several states have varied policies regarding MIP charges and permit children to participate in court-ordered rehabilitation programs to deter future criminal behavior.
The kid can be found “in possession” even if the police officer doesn’t see them holding or consuming the alcohol. Possession may be constructive (a drink in hand) or actual (a drink close by). A prosecutor can establish constructive possession by demonstrating that the minor was aware of where the alcohol was discovered and had immediate control over it.
Any level of alcohol consumption is illegal. The minor doesn’t need to be drunk or have a certain blood alcohol level.
Every MIP law tries to inform kids about the risks of drinking and using drugs while also assisting them in getting help if they become dependent. Laws concerning juveniles in possession also apply to several other crimes, including minors in possession of a gun or other firearm.
When a kid is found in possession of narcotics against the law, they are often prosecuted with drug possession for minors, which carries a variety of state-level sanctions. Juvenile imprisonment, probation, pre-trial diversion, and counseling are some punishments that can follow drug possession accusations for juveniles.
What are a Few Repercussions for Minors?
The following penalties could be imposed on you if you are found to have violated any underage drinking regulations:
- License suspension for drivers
- Potential imprisonment
- Serving the community
- Mandatory classes on alcohol awareness
Underage drinking may impact the minor’s academic performance, extracurricular activities, and driver’s insurance policy and have legal ramifications.
Where Does the Most Drinking Happen on Campus? Is it Lawful?
On or near the campus, drinking by college students can be found anywhere. Again, the regulations of the city and the university will determine if drinking is permitted in a certain area. Signs typically identify areas that are intended for drinking.
In general, places where drinking is common among college students include:
- Homes for fraternities and sororities
- Privately owned homes (Apartments, homes, etc.)
- Outside-of-campus recreation areas
- Dormitory structures (though this is usually highly regulated for school-operate residences)
- Events on campus
- Venues for sporting events (Stadiums, tailgates, outdoor venues)
Who Is Responsible for Accidents or Violations Caused by College Drinking?
On occasion, students engage in legal on-campus drinking but end up hurting themselves because they drank too much and lacked restraint. Holding another party accountable in these situations might be challenging because the student’s irresponsibility caused their injury.
However, some parties, such as the following, may be held accountable for injuries or violations resulting from college drinking:
- Those who provided alcohol to underage drinkers
- Bartenders who have sold alcohol to minors or who have continued to serve an excessively drunk individual
- Campus authorities (for example, if they failed to enforce school alcohol policies and rules)
Last but not least, other students may occasionally be held accountable for injuries, for instance, when one student forced another to drink under duress or threatened by physical harm.
Can Parents Be Held Responsible for Underage Drinking by Their Children?
State legislation will determine how to answer this. Alcohol use by parents in some states is legal as long as it takes place at home and is supervised by them.
Other states are quite stringent and will prosecute adults who knowingly serve, give, sell, or let children consume alcohol on their property. The adult could face civil and criminal prosecution if they contributed to the kid’s delinquency and the minor was hurt or killed. Some jurisdictions may even charge adults if drinking occurs on their premises while they are not home.
What Effects Will This Have on Other People?
Laws against underage drinking do not simply apply to minors. Depending on state law, unless you are the minor’s guardian or parent, engaging in any of the following actions may result in your arrest, a fine, or a criminal charge:
- Allow a minor to drink alcohol on your premises by purchasing it for them or giving it to them.
- Permit a child to use your ID
- Selling alcohol to anyone under 21 years old, even if they lie about their age
Do I Need Legal Counsel if I Have Problems With College Drinking?
Since many college students are of legal drinking age, there might be some legal ambiguity regarding college drinking. Even so, drinking on campus is a severe health and safety problem because it contributes to numerous student fatalities and serious injuries yearly.
If you want emergency legal assistance about on-campus drinking, you might want to get counsel from an experienced juvenile attorney. If you need to appear in court for a hearing, a lawyer will be able to advise you on the matter and defend you there.