Do college students understand the potential consequences of underage drinking? The answer is likely no. Every year, college students are caught consuming alcohol on and off campus. While it may not seem like a big deal to get caught drinking alcohol, students can face serious consequences and penalties from their university in addition to criminal charges.
Penalties from the university
Many colleges and universities have a disciplinary code that prohibits underage drinking and the use of alcohol on campus. Violations of this code can result in serious actions against students. Examples of the consequences students may face include:
- Denial of financial aid or scholarships
- Revoke university housing privileges
- Put on probation for a semester or longer
- Enrollment in a rehabilitative program
- Suspension or expulsion from the university
These penalties are detrimental to students. It is difficult to continue a college education and graduate with a degree when facing any of these penalties due to the stress, cost and impact they may have on a student’s future.
Criminal penalties for underage drinking
College students may face criminal charges or penalties in addition to any disciplinary action they may face from their college. Students under the age of 21 can face criminal charges for underage possession of alcohol. In Tennessee, penalties for underage possession can include a license suspension and carrying a restricted license for a given time period determined by the court.
Impaired driving can result in even worse consequences for students. Students under the age of 21 can face serious consequences for driving while impaired, even if they are not over the standard .08 BAC limit. Teens and young adults under 21 can face DWI charges if their blood alcohol content level is .02 percent or higher. Students convicted of a DWI can face a year-long license revocation, $250 fine and possibly serve public service at the discretion of the court.
What should students do?
The repercussions of underage drinking can have a lasting impact on a college student’s future. Students can face serious punishments from their university along with criminal charges. Combined, it has the potential to ruin a young adult’s bright future.
Students have the right to seek legal counsel if they are facing disciplinary action from their college or criminal charges related to underage drinking. Students do not have to let one mistake ruin their opportunity to get an education and start their careers. Seeking the help of criminal defense attorney can go a long way in protecting a student’s future before it gets any worse.