When it comes to underage drinking charges, there are a few things that Virginia Tech students and their parents need to be aware of.
First of all, this should not be mistaken for a minor issue. The reality is that a conviction for drinking under the age of 21 can come with serious and long-lasting repercussions that could jeopardize a student's education and ultimately their career path.
You Do Not Have To Plead Guilty
Many students simply plead guilty to underage drinking charges. They think it is just one little charge, and believe they can get it expunged later. That is not the case.
Do you consider a year in jail serious? Do you consider a $2,500 fine serious? While these penalties are on the high end, they are possible. At a minimum, a conviction for drinking underage will result in a $500 fine or 50 hours of community service, loss of driving privileges for half a year and potentially counseling as well. Further, a conviction will put a mark on a student's record that could damage the student's career prospects in today's competitive job market.
But the repercussions do not stop there for Virginia Tech students. Underage drinking, whether done on campus or off, violates the school's student code of conduct. The school may also issue sanctions, which start with educational requirements that may include alcohol counseling and potentially much more. There is also risk of probation, suspension or even expulsion. Note that the student will be required to pay for alcohol counseling and potentially other educational requirements.
While expungement of underage drinking charges may be possible, it is not guaranteed, nor is it automatic. Further, a specific amount of time must pass before expungement is an option. By that time, much of the damage may already be done.
Thankfully, students have the right to fight back against underage drinking charges to potentially avoid or mitigate some of these repercussions.