In recent years, there is an increasing number of colleges in Maryland and in states across the country that are enacting policies in order to deter students from underage drinking. According to the Center for Disease Control, alcohol is the most commonly used drug by youth in the United States. Underage drinking causes more than 4,300 deaths each year and plays a role in destructive behavior, unprotected sexual activity and poor school performance.
Colleges have come under fire for allowing underage drinking to occur on campus, which has led to a variety of lawsuits and has damaged the reputation of some schools. Additionally, in order to secure federal funds for their school, colleges must attempt to control underage drinking. Because of this, college students who are found to be drinking under the age of 21 may face stiff penalties from both the school and local law authorities.
Universities and colleges take different approaches to underage drinking. Punitive consequences might include denying financial aid to students, suspending or expelling students from the school, requiring the student to enroll in a rehabilitation program or placing the student on probation. Students may also face fines and time spent in a detention facility if convicted of underage drinking. Once the student graduates from college, he or she may face further consequences as their record may harm their professional future.
Because of these stiff penalties, it's important for students to know their legal rights if they are accused of underage drinking. A lawyer might help a student who is detained for underage drinking understand the best course of action for their case. Minimizing the charges and limiting the consequences, such as reduced charges or reduction of fines, is often the aim of lawyers who defend students that are charged with underage drinking. In this case, a lawyer may be able to show that the student has a history of good behavior and good grades and convince the judge to minimize the consequences.