It happens frequently at colleges and universities. A student party can grow large and law enforcement comes in handing out citations to students for underage drinking or possession. The drinking age in North Carolina is 21 and many college aged students are underage.
The difficulty with an underage drinking charge in North Carolina is that a conviction becomes part of an individual’s permanent criminal record creating adverse consequences that are difficult to remove after conviction.
A large party resulting in multiple citations for underage drinking played out Sunday morning in Winston-Salem. Officers from the city police department and Wake Forest Campus police received a tip regarding a disturbance on Polo Road in the city. Police responded to the house, which is owned by Wake Forest University.
Law enforcement says when they arrived at the fraternity house, they found many underage individuals attending a party. Of the estimated 200 to 300 revelers, law enforcement issued citations to 80 Wake Forest students for underage drinking. An underage drinking citation was also given to a non-student at the party.
The Fire Department was called in and additional citations were issued by the Fire Marshal. Authorities allege that plastic cups were taped over the fire alarm system inside the fraternity house. Impairing the fire alarm system is also considered a crime.
Many of the students attending the party now face criminal charges. Simply paying an underage drinking ticket is a conviction of a criminal charge under North Carolina law. In some cases, such charges could impact student scholarships and driver’s licenses as well as lead to other penalties here in North Carolina. With the increase in background checking, a criminal conviction can create difficulties in future employment opportunities after graduation.
Source: WFMY News 2, “Police: 80 Wake Forest Students Cited For Underage Drinking,” 15 Nov 2010