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Conway Criminal Law Blog

College students should understand underage alcohol crimes

Many college students congregate in South Carolina. The summer is an especially busy time in places like Myrtle Beach. As they try to have an enjoyable time, it is not uncommon for them to drink alcohol. Even if the person is not driving after consuming alcohol while underage, it can still lead to legal problems that can have extensive ramifications. When there is an arrest, it is imperative to know how to craft an effective legal defense.

Underage alcohol offenses can lead to fines and jail

Often, alcohol-related violations are often connected to driving under the influence. However, there are other activities related to simply possessing or acquiring alcohol while underage that can lead to an arrest with fines and jail time.

Even if a person who is under 21 is at a gathering where there is alcohol and no one has a drink in hand, there can still be a charge called “constructive possession.” This might lead to fines that cost between $100 and $200 and may rise to $260 to $465 when counting court costs and fees. There can be 30 days in jail for a first offense. They might also be obligated to take part in an alcohol education program.

Simply trying to buy alcohol when under 21 is also a frequent reason for an arrest. To buy alcohol, the person must be 21 or older. Those younger than 21 who lie about their age, use the driver’s license of a person 21 and older, alter a driver’s license, buy a driver’s license, or have an invalid driver’s license can be arrested.

The penalties for giving a false age when trying to buy alcohol are the same as listed above for constructive possession. Altering a driver’s license to buy alcohol has the harsh penalty of a fine of as much as $2,500 and up to 6 months in jail.

Young people might think that if they were not driving drunk, they will not be confronted with major consequences for alcohol violations. This is a mistake. Not only can college crimes cost them personally and financially, but they might also have trouble with their school. There could be negative issues with getting financial aid. When they are trying to get internships or a job, a criminal record could impede that.

Fortunately, there are solutions including plea bargains or the possibility of an acquittal. Having experienced assistance from a professional who is a longtime resident of the area, knows the perspectives of prosecution and defense, and has worked on thousands of cases can be key. Calling for representation is essential and should be the first step after an arrest.