DRUG AND ALCOHOL VIOLATIONS
Alcohol consumption is a common aspect of campus social life, even where students have not reached the legal drinking age. Most colleges have rules against underage drinking, but they don’t enforce them with rigor. This can create a situation in which you may be found responsible at any time for drinking, even when your fellow students almost universally engage in the same behavior without any consequences, if the college or university decides to enforce the rules.
Some schools forbid hard liquor, considering it to present a higher risk of severe intoxication or alcohol poisoning. Other policies bar beer kegs or “spiked” punch bowls because of the risk of easy access to underage students. Some schools regulate alcohol use by requiring registration of events where alcohol will be served. Or schools require event coordinators to follow rules on the distribution of alcohol. Alcohol is commonly forbidden in dorms or other school-managed properties.
Students of legal age can also run afoul of campus alcohol policies, for example, by keeping alcohol in their dorms. Underage students may crash an upperclass student’s party and consume alcohol, making the host responsible – even if the host student was not present. Students may inadvertently violate the alcohol policy by having prohibited “paraphernalia,” such as a beer funnel.
Activities considered to be normal a generation ago have now become the focus of campus regulation. In consequence, they are now subject to the campus “judiciary.” A college may also begin proceedings as knock-on charges following an off-campus incident, such as a traffic stop for driving under the influence – without waiting to see if the student is even convicted of a DUI.
Because drinking is so widespread on campus, first violations usually do not result in harsh sanctions. But repeated violations or more serious incidents, such as over consumption that results in death or hospitalization, can have grave consequences. Alcohol violations can also be included as a knock-on offense to a sexual assault charge, if drinking was involved.
Students can lose benefits such as access to campus housing or scholarships. You may also be suspended or expelled.
Drug violations can also have a major impact on a student’s education. Even as many states move toward the legalization of marijuana, most colleges continue to prohibit its use or possession on campus. And not all states tolerate marijuana use or possession. Students who use or sell it can find themselves criminally charged with drug possession or trafficking.
Students who use alcohol or drugs at a university may be caught off-guard by the severe penalties that can result. A qualified attorney can defend you and your education during a disciplinary hearing for drug or alcohol possession.