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Colleges and underage drinking

There has been a long history of underage drinking and attending college. Many students have died due to alcohol poisoning, car wrecks, suicide and homicide.

A college might take one of three responses to underage drinking. First, they can choose to ignore that underage drinking is a problem. Second, they can put policies in place that are similar to the laws locally with regard to underage drinking. Third, they can put policies in place that are stricter than the local laws.

Colleges and universities that allow drinking on campus, such as at a fraternal organization or at a sporting event, can be held liable for injuries that occur as a result. The government has also provided incentives to colleges that try to control underage drinking within their student populations. In order to qualify for this funding, colleges and universities have to implement a program on preventing students from abusing illicit drugs and alcohol.

Many colleges are banning alcohol on campus or at events that are associated with the school. Activities such as tailgating may be banned or alcohol retailers may not be allowed to sponsor some collegiate activities. Student-centric policies may also be put in place, such as denying financial aid, requiring a student to enroll in a rehabilitation program or suspending or expelling a student who violates an alcohol policy.

Colleges can find themselves named as defendants in lawsuits for wrongful death, personal injury and more if they do not take a hardline stance against underage drinking. If you have been charged with underage drinking, don't simply plead guilty. This type of charge can prove difficult to explain when applying for a job or an apartment. An experienced attorney can help you fight a charge for underage drinking to mitigate the potential penalties.

Source: Findlaw, "Underage drinking: laws and school policies," accessed July 14, 2017

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