Alcohol on college campuses is often a major part of student culture. In some university clubs and organizations, group drinking and partying events are common initiation or bonding practices. Students may feel like they have no choice but to participate in the campus alcohol culture.

Even students who have not yet reached the legal drinking age may feel pressured to join in the over-consumption of alcohol. Unfortunately, there can be very serious criminal consequences for minors who drink on college campuses or at college parties. Possessing alcohol as a minor can result in an arrest and criminal penalties, as can getting behind the wheel after drinking.

Not only do students face potential criminal charges, but they could also experience negative consequences from the school itself. College students accused of an on-campus alcohol offense or infraction need to have a proactive approach for their defense to minimize the impact of youthful mistakes on their career and future.

Many Colleges Penalize Criminal Convictions

It is common for colleges to have policies that allow for disciplinary action, often taken by a board of representatives, in the event that students breach the university’s code of conduct. A disciplinary hearing could result in aor even expulsion for a student. In some cases, it can impact the student’s eligibility for future financial aid.

Depending on your school’s policies, it may be possible for you to avoid consequences if you avoid a conviction. Other times, the school will perform an independent investigation that does not hinge on the outcome of any pending criminal charges. Reviewing your school’s disciplinary program and history of disciplinary measures towards students can help you determine how to proceed.

Seeking Treatment May Mitigate Consequences

Those accused of crimes have options in the ways they approach their situations. Some may choose to plead “not guilty” and contest the circumstances of their citation or arrest. Other times, the better option may be to accept responsibility for your decisions and actions that indicates you intend to improve yourself for the future.

Students dealing with alcohol-related criminal offenses or disciplinary action on campus may find that attending an alcohol abuse support group or taking and passing an alcohol education course could demonstrate a willingness to change course. Both the courts and the school disciplinary board may consider voluntary involvement in these programs a sign that a student is committed to avoiding similar issues in the future.

It is common for young adults to make mistakes, especially when peer pressure and alcohol are part of the equation. An alcohol offense doesn’t have to saddle you with a criminal conviction or ruin your academic career. For best future results, you need a realistic and proactive approach to handling the consequences of any alleged alcohol offense.

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