What are the consequences your college student might face from drinking?

Many college students see drinking as a harmless rite of passage. However, heavy drinking in school can result in numerous criminal charges.

A new college year is underway for many students in Michigan and across the country. For a large portion of them, drinking will be considered an acceptable social activity, as well as a rite of passage. Many college students will have no problem with drinking and staying out of trouble. However, numerous others may face penalties related to the activities they engage in while drinking.

More than 3 million college students across the country drink and drive every year, states the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Many others face different charges related to alcohol. Studies have shown that a large portion of underage university students start drinking heavily during the first few weeks of the beginning semester. This may increase a student's chances of being charged with an underage crime.

Opportunities to drink in school may increase risks

According to the Prevention Resource Center, college students are continuously presented with opportunities to drink, as well as intense peer pressure. Sports activities and fraternity parties are among the most well-known situations for students to get drunk. They may also drink socially in their residence halls or housing off campus, or at any of the numerous bars that cater to local university students.

Drunk driving is only one of the many ways a college student can get into trouble while drinking. Alcohol is known for lowering inhibitions and judgement. Therefore, a young person who has never been in trouble before may end up being accused of assault, sex crimes, indecency, underage drinking or furnishing alcohol to a minor. Some may be caught using a false ID.

Alcohol-related charges can result in such consequences as fines, jail time and the loss of a driver's license. Additionally, students may face penalties from school administration, such as suspension from sports or expulsion from the university. It is possible that one alcohol-related charge may have a long-lasting effect on a young person's education and employment opportunities.

How parents might help

Parents may be able to take an active role in preventing their child from receiving DUI charges or other alcohol-related consequences. This may include the following:

  • Developing a close and trusting relationship with the child
  • Outlining ground rules about drinking and social activities while in college
  • Staying in touch on a regular basis, preferably daily
  • Visiting the campus when possible
  • Intervening if a problem seems to be developing, such as a drop in grades or signs of depression or stress
  • Setting consequences for breaking the rules, such as reducing financial support

It can be stressful for the entire family if a college student is facing charges. It may help to speak with an experienced defense attorney in Kalamazoo.