Spring break is right around the corner. Just next month, you will have the entire week off from classes. While many students are deciding to travel – even take off to a warmer location – there are many others who are just staying in the area, planning to enjoy a much needed break.
Just because classes are on hold for the week, remember that the same rules still apply when it comes to drinking and partying. Whether you are under 21 or over 21, the choices you make during spring break will impact not only the rest of the academic year, but also your future after college.
Here are some of the more common reasons college students in Maryland find themselves facing legal challenges after the spring break.
No. 1: Underage drinking
With very few exceptions – such as being at home with the permission of a parent – drinking alcohol under the age of 21 is illegal in Maryland. Similarly – with the exception of servers who are 18 or older – it is illegal for those under the age of 21 to possess alcohol or attempt to buy it.
If you are caught drinking underage, you can expect to receive a minor in possession citation.
No. 2: Getting busted at a house party
The criminal charges or citations you could face if you are at a house party that gets shut down police is dependent on a few things, including if you are the person who is throwing the party and your age.
For example, if you are under 21 and drinking a beer when police show up, you may be slapped with the above mentioned minor in possession citation. However, if you are over 21 and are the one providing alcohol to people under the age of 21, you could be facing a whole host of other legal troubles that should all be taken very seriously.
While having any type of criminal record is not a good thing, having a criminal record that shows you were serving minors can really deter future employers from even wanting to hire you. An employer could make assumptions based on your character just from seeing the conviction. You have to remember, the employer doesn’t know the real story of what happened, just that you have a criminal record.
No. 3: Driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated
Drunk driving is against the law, regardless of your age. Many college students mistakenly think that having a one-time DUI or DWI is not a big deal. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Just pleading guilty to a drunk driving charge means you will most likely lose your driver’s license and have to pay expensive fines. Many people are normally shocked to hear this, but you could even wind up in jail for up to a year for a first time DUI, or up to 60 days for a DWI.
Criminal and administrative consequences aside, having a mark on your criminal record and driving record could also prevent you from getting into the career path of your choice after college.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are facing any of these types of charges – or others – after spring break, try to remain calm. You will want to take action to protect your future and keep your record clean, but you also do not want to make any rash decisions without first carefully and thoughtfully thinking through how to proceed.