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Why college students need to take underage consumption charges seriously

At this time of the year, there's no question that the pressure is on for college students. That's because we're rapidly approaching the end of the semester, meaning reading has to be completed and papers drafted. This is not to mention, of course, studying for final exams.

When it all comes to an end, however, students will be looking to blow off steam with many heading to area bars or campus parties, or others just unwinding with friends in the comfort of their dorms or apartments. While there's certainly nothing wrong with this, things can become problematic if alcohol enters the picture and the person doing the consuming is underage.

Indeed, the law in North Carolina expressly forbids minors from purchasing, possessing or consuming alcohol with only certain designated exceptions, including some of the following:

  • Possession and consumption of wine is permitted for sacramental purposes in an organized church
  • Possession and consumption of wine is permitted during a course in a licensed and accredited culinary program when required as part of the curriculum and under the direct supervision of an instructor

If a minor is caught purchasing, possessing or consuming alcohol, he or she will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 45 days of probation ("community punishment") and a fine to be determined by the judge. If the minor is 19 or 20 years old, however, he or she will be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 10 days of probation plus a fine of up to $200.

While a young person might be tempted to dismiss the severity of these charges, it's important to understand that this can go on their permanent record, potentially affecting employment and education opportunities down the road.

Accordingly, those who find themselves in this situation should seriously consider speaking with a skilled legal professional.

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Why college students need to take underage consumption charges seriously | Messer Law Firm