College drinking and the consequences young people may face

Drinking is a part of college life for many students. This may result in numerous alcohol-related charges, including drunk driving and underage charges.

Pennsylvania is known for its many reputable colleges and universities. However, there is often more to college life than getting a quality education. College social life often includes drinking, and this in turn may lead to alcohol-related charges.

Why do college students drink?

Many students turn to alcohol to help them cope with the pressures of studying, exams and fitting in with their peers, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. In fact, a large number of college freshmen begin drinking heavily within the first few weeks of their first semester. Others, particularly older students, may already be well-acquainted with the drinking scene at school and looking forward to the numerous parties, sporting events and social activities that are a large part of university life.

What consequences might a young person face for underage drinking?

Drinking offenses come with many penalties, which may include driver's license suspension, jail time, court fees and fines, community service and alcohol education classes. Students who are convicted of alcohol crimes may face suspension from sports or activities, or expulsion from school. It may be difficult to keep a job after a drunk driving charge or other alcohol offense, and a conviction may also seriously impact one's education.

Can parents do anything to help their child avoid an alcohol-related charge?

Parents who are involved in their children's lives may play a large part in helping them make smart decisions about drinking and avoiding underage crimes. According to the Prevention Resource Center, it can be invaluable to have a trusting and honest relationship with a child during the teenage and young adult years. Before college starts, it might be a good idea to develop a plan regarding a child's responsibilities, including whether or not to drink, and how much is too much. Parents may also wish to visit their child on campus regularly and to stay in contact, in order to find out about problems that may be developing socially or academically.

What can be done if a college student is facing charges?

Despite precautions, there is always the chance that a student who has never been in trouble before may end up with alcohol-related charges. Peer pressure in college can be intense, and even a small amount of alcohol may affect a young person's judgment. Students who are facing alcohol charges may benefit from speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney in West Chester, who should be able to answer questions and attempt to have the potential penalties lessened.