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Alcohol & The Law

Before you choose to break the law, please review the risks you encounter, such as

  • possible fine
  • imprisonment
  • criminal record
  • embarrassment
  • career jeopardy
  • reputation jeopardy
  • loss of self-esteem
  • loss of job
  • suspension from the University
  • death

 

You have a responsibility to follow the laws of your city, state and nation. If you fail to live up to that responsibility, you may face certain penalties.

 

Underage consumption, purchasing or possession of alcohol:

The legal drinking age in Alabama for consumption of an alcoholic beverage is 21. Purchasing, possessing or consuming alcohol prior to your 21st birthday is a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalties associated with this offense are six months imprisonment or a $1,000 fine or both. A 20-year-old student, therefore, risks being imprisoned and fined when he/she decides to drink alcohol at a party or elsewhere.

 

Providing alcohol to an underage person:

A person who furnishes alcohol to an underage person is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalty associated with this offense is six months imprisonment or $1,000 fine or both. A social host, therefore, risks being fined and imprisoned when he/she furnishes alcohol to a person he/she knows or should know is not 21 years of age.

 

Fake ID:

Possession or display of a fictitious operator's license is a first-degree misdemeanor. The offense includes mere possession of a fictitious license or display of someone else's valid operator's license. The maximum penalties for this offense are six months imprisonment or a $1,000 fine or both. Moreover, if the fictitious operator's license is utilized to purchase alcohol or enter an establishment that serves alcohol, the minimum fine must be at least $250 and the person displaying the fictitious operator's license may have his/her valid operator's license suspended for three years.

 

Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (OVI):

In Alabama, a person may not operate a motor vehicle if he/she is impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. The maximum penalty for operating a vehicle while under the influence is six months imprisonment (mandatory at least three days in jail) or a $1,000 fine (a mandatory minimum fine of $250) or both. In addition, the operator must forfeit his/her driving privileges for six months.

 

Open container:

It is illegal to possess in public an open container of an alcoholic beverage. Conviction of this offense carries a maximum penalty of a $100 fine. Consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle is a fourth-degree misdemeanor with maximum penalties of 30 days imprisonment or a $250 fine or both.

 

Disorderly conduct:

Disorderly conduct while intoxicated is a minor misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of a $100 fine. Disorderly conduct occurs when one recklessly causes inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to another due to offensive conduct.

 

Sanction plan minimum guidelines

 

University policy prohibits:

  • The use, possession, or distribution of illegal drugs, including the use or possession of drug paraphernalia containing illegal drug residue.

  • The use, possession, or distribution of alcoholic beverages, except as expressly permitted by the law and University regulations.

 

When a student and/or student organization is found responsible for violating the alcohol policy and/or procedures, any or all of the following sanctions may be imposed. Students who already have Code of Conduct violations may receive more severe sanctions. Sanctions may also be enhanced based on the severity of the behavior and the impact on the community.

*Disruptive alcohol violations in University-owned housing

 

A disruptive alcohol violation occurs when alcohol is present in conjunction with behavior that is disruptive to the community, endangers health or safety of others, or results in damage or vandalism to University property or property of members of the University community.

 

First Violation:

  • Immediate referral to Office of Student Life

  • University probation

  • Community service

  • Alcohol Assessment by a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor ($100 fee)

  • Parental notification
     

Second Violation:

  • Suspension from the University

  • Documentation of complete alcohol assessment/treatment program required for consideration of admission

  • University probation upon return


Disruptive alcohol violations in areas other than University-owned housing

 

First Violation:

  • Immediate referral to Office of Student Life

  • University probation

  • Community service

  • Participation in Perspectives Alcohol Education Class ($65 fee)

  • Parental notification
     

Second Violation:

  • Suspension from the University

  • Documentation of complete alcohol assessment/treatment program required for consideration of admission

  • University probation upon return

*A combination of one "non-disruptive" alcohol violation and one "disruptive" alcohol violation will result in a sanction plan developed by the hearing officer based on the specific facts of the case and the Sanction Plan for the University alcohol policy.

 

Non-Disruptive alcohol violations in University-owned housing

 

First Violation:

  • Residence hall probation

  • Participation in Viewpoints Alcohol Education Class ($40 fee)


Second Violation:

  • Referral to Office of Student Life

  • University probation

  • Participation in Perspectives Alcohol Education Class ($65 fee)

  • Community service

  • Parental notification


Third Violation:

  • Suspension from University

  • Documentation of complete alcohol assessment/ treatment program required for consideration of re-admission

  • University probation upon return


Non-disruptive alcohol violations in areas other than University-owned housing

 

First Violation:

  • University probation

  • Participation in Perspectives Alcohol Education Class ($65 fee)


Second Violation:

  • University probation

  • Community service

  • Alcohol assessment by a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor ($100 fee)

  • Parental notification


Third Violation:

  • Suspension from University

  • Documentation of complete alcohol assessment/ treatment program required for consideration of re-admission

  • University probation upon return