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Students face serious underage drinking penalties

Law enforcement for underage drinking does not stop on the campus grounds. College students charged with OUI and underage drinking offenses face serious consequences that can last throughout their educational or professional lives.

It is illegal for anyone under 21-years-old to drink alcoholic beverages in Massachusetts. Misrepresenting age or engaging in the age-old attempt of falsifying identification carries a $300 fine. State law has criminal penalties for the sale or delivery of alcoholic to minor under 21, which include a fine up to $2,000 and 6-months imprisonment.

Driving while impaired by alcohol also has criminal penalties. A first OWI conviction may be punishable by a $500 to $5,000 fine, one-year driver's license revocation, up to two-and-half years imprisonment and mandatory rehabilitation.

Boston and many other cities in the state have their own regulations and ordinances forbidding the public consumption of alcoholic beverages or drinking alcohol on private property without the owner's approval.

Pubic consumption of alcohol is also prohibited in state parks

Illegal consumption of alcohol can have disciplinary consequences for college students. State universities generally have rules prohibiting underage drinking, furnishing alcohol to minors or serving alcohol at social functions without approval.

Penalties generally increase with the number of violations. These may include fines, counseling, removal from campus, suspension and loss of fraternity charters. Alcohol may increase the penalties for other misbehavior, such as fighting. University officials may also report cases to police, especially if the drinking involves a serious crime such as sexual assault.

Being a student does not immunize students from criminal or disciplinary action which can impact their ability to finish college or get a job. Students accused of underage drinking or any offense involving alcohol should seek legal representation.

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