For the first time in a few years, with the team rushing out of the gate to a great start, fans of Terrapins football have reason to be happy. With wins come bigger crowds, and more people tailgating. In fact, the Terps are hosting a big night game on October 22. The atmosphere should be festive in the lead-up to kickoff.
However, it is important to keep some things in mind when partaking in tailgating fun. A simple mistake could have wide-ranging consequences, from a criminal record to facing possible suspension or expulsion from school.
Police take underage drinking seriously
One of the main components of a lot of tailgating parties is copious amounts of alcohol. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying alcohol responsibly, police are likely to give extra attention to parties that are very loud and disruptive to others.
If you are underage and imbibing at a tailgating party, this could mean trouble. You could be given a citation for minor in possession of alcohol. In Maryland, that can mean a fine of more than $500, and additional punishments handed out by a judge. Depending on your actions at the time of arrest, you could also be charged with disorderly conduct. A conviction would then appear on background checks when you are looking for a job after college.
An arrest could also mean facing harsh consequences from the University of Maryland's Office of Student Conduct, which also addresses matters occurring off-campus that involve students. That means if you get a DUI after the football game but are off campus, you could still face college-related penalties.
Talk to an attorney right away
If you are cited or arrested, the most important thing you or your parents can do is contact a criminal defense attorney. An experienced lawyer can work to minimize the negative effects of any arrest, citation or conviction. It could mean the difference in staying in school or getting a job after you graduate.
Before anything bad even happens, though, the best thing you can do for yourself is exercise good judgment when tailgating. Do not drink to excess, and do not get behind the wheel.