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Conway Criminal Law Blog

College life can be risky for underage drinkers

As South Carolina is known not only for beautiful beaches but also beach colleges, there is no shortage of good times to be had. The many undergraduate students who come to study, however, probably don’t think twice about going to weekend parties where the alcohol flows freely. That is, until the police make a surprise visit to round up all the underage drinkers.

Unfortunately, the consequences of an arrest or conviction on college students are serious, as this can affect not only their educational but also future employment opportunities. While drinking in college is a rite of passage for many, it is important to also be aware of the consequences of being caught.

It is also essential to have strong and experienced legal representation serving the Myrtle Beach community to develop an effective defense to get charges reduced or even dropped, or explore options such as expungement or entry into a diversion program to help clear the individual’s record.

Underage drinking in South Carolina

The laws regarding underage drinking in South Carolina are strict and can carry stiff penalties. The legal age for drinking is 21, which means that if you are caught in possession or drinking and you are underage, you are committing a criminal offense and can be arrested for a minor in possession (MIP). If you are underage, you can even be arrested just for holding an alcoholic beverage in public.

Underage possession is prohibited unless in the parent or guardian’s home, and consumption is prohibited with no exceptions. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to hold, buy or drink any form of alcohol. If arrested they will be charged with being knowingly in possession, and the seller will also face charges for selling to a minor.

Attempting to obtain alcohol with a false ID can result in a charge of misrepresentation, which is a misdemeanor that can result in fines and even jail time.

South Carolina also has zero tolerance laws for underage DUI, with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.02%. Penalties for a first offense include license suspension. If the BAC is 0.08% or higher, an individual can be charged as an adult.

Other consequences of underage drinking

There are other repercussions for an underage drinking conviction that can have a negative impact on a student’s future. Not only will car insurance rates go up, but they can lose scholarship or college acceptance opportunities. If charged are filed, it is important to get legal advice to explore your options before paying any fines.