College students who have not yet turned 21 but still choose to drink alcohol are putting themselves at risk for underage drinking charges. The repercussions of an underage drinking charge at a young age can have a lasting impact on a student’s career prospects.
To avoid underage drinking charges, it’s best to simply avoid drinking alcohol at all costs. However, if you or a John Hopkins University student in your life has been caught drinking while underage, you may need the help of an attorney. Contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice to set up a consultation to learn more about how we can help mitigate underage drinking charges. Contact us by phone at (410) 834-3678 or visit our website today.
Underage Drinking and Related Charges in Maryland
Anyone who is under the age of 21 and gets caught consuming, possessing, purchasing, or attempting to purchase alcohol in the state of Maryland will be charged with underage drinking. Alcohol is strictly defined as any beverage, whether it be liquor, malt, or brewed beverage, that contains at least .50 percent alcohol by volume. Some college students, most likely freshmen, may be under the age of 18. If they are caught drinking, then it will be considered a delinquent act and will be handled in juvenile court.
It should also be noted that there are certain circumstances in which it is acceptable for people under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcohol. If an underage person works for an employer (such as a bar or restaurant) with a valid liquor license, then it is legal for the person to possess alcohol, though it is still illegal for them to consume it.
It is also legal for people under the age of 21 to drink alcohol in a private residence as long as they have the consent of a family member, such as a parent. Individuals under the age of 21 may also drink alcohol legally if it is part of an approved religious ceremony.
It is common for underage drinking charges to be accompanied by related charges, depending on the circumstances at the time that the charge is filed. These may be:
- Underage DUI – Underage drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above .02 will be charged with an underage DUI. Those charged with DUIs while underage are more likely than their older counterparts to be given a punishment that includes community service or enrollment in an alcohol education program.
- Public intoxication – A public intoxication charge is filed against anyone who acts under the influence of alcohol or acts in a disruptive manner in any public place (a street or sidewalk, parking lot, or any public establishment). Consequences include a fine or jail time.
- Fake ID – Possessing fraudulent identification in the state of Maryland is a misdemeanor and can entail punishment of a $500 fine or up to six months in jail.
Penalties for Student Underage Drinking in Maryland
There are a few different types of penalties that can be given to John Hopkins University students caught drinking while underage. One penalty that may be given is a fine – the first underage drinking offense will result in a $500 fine, and doubles with the second and subsequent offenses.
A person who is charged with underage drinking may also lose their driving privileges for a certain period of time. However, it is very common for students who have been charged with underage drinking for the first time to be sent to a diversionary program. This may mean attending an alcohol awareness course or doing a certain number of community service hours.
Students should remember that the most severe penalty they can receive due to underage drinking is the presence of the underage drinking conviction on their permanent record. This can follow them around the remainder of their adult lives, and may have an impact on job, school, and housing opportunities.
Fighting an Underage Drinking Charge as a Johns Hopkins Student
Even if your underage drinking charges seem straightforward, a lawyer can still help you get the fairest treatment available.
A lawyer can help you in the wake of an underage drinking charge by ensuring that law enforcement acted according to protocol. A lawyer can make sure that police respected your 4th Amendment rights during your arrest or your traffic stop, if there was one, and that your Miranda rights were read to you. A lawyer can also make sure that a blood or breathalyzer test you may have taken was administered and processed properly.
If a lawyer can prove that law enforcement did not behave correctly, then your case may be dismissed. If your license is suspended as a result of underage drinking, a lawyer may be able to get you an occupational limited license. This will allow you to drive only to your place of employment or school.
Contact Our John Hopkins University Underage Drinking Lawyers
If you’re facing the consequences of underage drinking, you don’t have to go through it alone. Use the help of a lawyer to make sure that your case moves through the legal system with speed and fairness. Contact a lawyer at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today. Call (410) 834-3678 or pay us a visit online.