Drinking on college campuses is a common occurrence. Some view it as a rite of passage, others succumb to peer pressure, but whatever the reason, it is often considered a regular event at university parties.
Despite the prevalence of this behavior, there are legal consequences for students under the age of 21 caught with alcohol.
Consequences of conviction
In Florida, possession of an alcoholic beverage by an underage person is a misdemeanor. A first offense can result in a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail or six months of probation. A defendant may also have their driver’s license suspended for a period of up to one year. Subsequent charges of underage possession of alcohol bring additional and more severe consequences. Some colleges may also take punitive steps of their own against students convicted of crimes on campus.
Defending the charges
Options available for defending against the charges will vary greatly depending on the circumstances of each individual case. However, there are certain factors that generally must be present in each instance. Police must have had legal justification to enter the property where the alcohol was present. The accused must also have been aware that the beverage they were in possession of was an alcoholic drink, and there must be proof that the drink in question did belong to the charged individual and not another person on the premises.
Because drinking on college and university campuses is commonplace, there are usually options for those charged with underage possession.