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What are consequences of underage alcohol possession?

Finals are over and your first year of college is complete. You and your friends worked hard and want to celebrate your accomplishment. As you go about your celebration, you should keep in mind the consequences for possessing alcohol under the age of 21. An underage possession charge is a surefire way to begin your summer on a down note.

Unless handling alcohol is a part of your job, you should not have alcohol in your possession. Virginia law highly discourages minors from handling alcohol. If you’re found in possession of alcohol before age 21, police could charge you with a Class 1 misdemeanor and possible penalties include:

  • Loss of time or money: You will have to pay a minimum $500 fine or serve 50 hours of community service.
  • Loss of driving privileges: Getting around in the summer will be difficult with your driver’s license suspended for six months to one year.

You may still have to deal with your parents

These are just the legal consequences. While the law does not require the police to notify your parents of an underage consumption violation, they will likely find out eventually. When they do find out, they may have punishments of their own in mind.

Your university may punish you for on-campus violations

Local James Madison University forbids underage alcohol possession or storage in places like your dorm, refrigerator, backpack or vehicle. Your school may punish you if you’re found in possession of alcohol on campus.

Think of the big picture

What the movies don’t always show about college parties is that there are serious consequences for underage drinking. Underage alcohol possession charges can land you in trouble with the law, your school and even your parents. Waiting until you’re 21 years old to get involved with alcohol is the best way to avoid charges like underage possession.

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