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Students may learn difficult lessons about alcohol

By now, your freshman son or daughter has settled into a routine at the University of West Georgia or another fine institution. Maybe the calls home are coming less frequently, and your child's conversations are including the names of new friends more often. It's a relief, but you likely still have concerns about your child's well-being.

One item of concern to many parents of college students is the heavy pressure to drink alcohol. While it is becoming clearer how dangerous that pressure can be to a college student's health, your child may also face risks with the law.

Campus police take alcohol crimes seriously

The University of West Georgia has its own campus police department, and state certified police officers who have authority to arrest those who violate state and local laws (as well as upholding the laws of the university) staff that agency. Because university officers work in cooperation with local law enforcement, those who face arrest by campus police may go to the county jail for processing and remain there until trial unless they make bond.

It is likely that orientation to the university alerted your child to the zero tolerance policies for violations of alcohol laws, for example:

  • Drunk driving
  • Public intoxication
  • Carrying an open container
  • Supplying minors with alcohol
  • Underage drinking

 Like you, campus police and administrators have concerns for the well-being of all students. They have experience with the consequences of alcohol abuse, and such circumstances are not only a danger to the student who is drinking but to other students as well. Campus authorities often see alcohol associated with other infractions, such as:

  • Sexual assault
  • Fighting
  • Vandalism

Campus police make few exceptions when a student violates alcohol laws. If police arrest your son or daughter for any of the above offenses, a conviction for that offense will carry penalties on many levels. Not only will your child face criminal penalties, which may include fines and jail, but police will also notify the university administration, which will more than likely convene a disciplinary hearing.

Such hearings and their penalties are completely independent of any state proceedings. In other words, if the state does not convict your child of the offense, that doesn't mean the university disciplinary board will also acquit your child.

All grown up

All kids screw up, and many learn valuable lessons. You may lecture and warn, and you may step in to save the day when your child makes a mistake. However, a mistake such as the violation of alcohol laws or university policies may carry lessons that could damage your child's future and prevent him or her from reaching any educational or professional goals. You may not be able to save the day without the help of a professional who has successfully assisted many students facing legal trouble.

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