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Underage drinking fines and your college co-curricular activities

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2024 | Criminal Defense

College. A time of independence, exploration and maybe a little too much fun. While social gatherings often involve alcohol, for those under 21 in Virginia, underage drinking can come with a hefty price tag. The consequences can extend beyond just a young person’s wallet.

If you’re a college student, understanding underage drinking fines in the state can help ensure you understand how they can impact your participation in co-curricular activities that may mean a very great deal to you.

Underage drinking laws

In Old Dominion, the legal drinking age is 21. For those under 21, purchasing, possessing or consuming alcohol is illegal. Getting caught with alcohol can result in a conviction for a Class 1 misdemeanor. This carries a minimum penalty of a $500 fine, a minimum of 50 hours of community service and a mandatory driver’s license suspension lasting between 6 months and a year. On top of these legal repercussions, there’s another layer of potential consequences to consider: your college’s policies.

How underage drinking fines affect co-curricular activities

Most colleges and universities take a strong stance against underage drinking. They often have their own set of policies that go beyond the legal repercussions. These policies can be even stricter and significantly impact your involvement in co-curricular activities, especially athletics.

Many colleges will suspend you from participating in sports for a set period following an underage drinking offense. This suspension can range from a few weeks to an entire semester, depending on the severity of the offense and your college’s specific policies.

Athletic scholarships are often contingent on good academic and disciplinary standing. An underage drinking offense can jeopardize your scholarship, potentially putting your financial aid and academic future at risk.

In some cases, depending on the seriousness of the offense, you might even be removed from the team entirely. This can be particularly devastating for students who have dedicated significant time and effort to their sport.

The impact of underage drinking can also extend beyond just fines and co-curricular activities. A conviction for underage drinking can stay on your criminal record, potentially hindering future job opportunities or professional licensing requirements.

An underage drinking fine can have significant implications for college students in Virginia, particularly those involved in co-curricular activities. From legal penalties to academic and athletic consequences, the effects of underage drinking can be far-reaching and long-lasting. Thankfully, by understanding DUI laws, seeking legal support when needed and making responsible choices, you can work to avoid the negative repercussions of an underage drinking misstep.