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Drinking (Underage) With Parents: To Do, Or Not To do

Homecoming, Parents’ Weekend, and various fraternity & sorority events are a prime opportunity for parents to spend quality time with their college student in the student’s natural environment. This sometimes includes parent-student underage drinking. Two important questions emerge:

(1) Is this legal? Answer: Probably

Under Ohio law, an individual under the age of 21 can possess, consume, and even be “under the influence of” alcohol if supervised by a parent or legal guardian. However, the exception does not apply to purchasing alcohol, meaning an underage person can be prosecuted for say buying a beer at a bar even if the underage person is with a parent. Furthermore, if the underage person leaves his or her parent and is found elsewhere “under the influence” of alcohol, it is fairly (although not entirely) certain that the underage person may be prosecuted;

(2) Is this a Miami University Code of Conduct Violation? Answer: Yes

Miami University’s Code of Student Conduct makes no exception for parental supervision, meaning that you could be found criminally “not guilty” but nonetheless “responsible” at Miami for a given parent-student drinking incident. Also note that Miami’s Code prohibits “intoxication” and “negative behavior associated with the use of alcohol” even if a student is 21 at the time of the incident.

One event, two potentially very different outcomes. Should you find yourself criminally charged for a underage student-parent drinking situation, contact one of our attorneys today.

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