Student Legal Services, Inc.


 Being charged with a criminal offense can adversely impact your education as well as the value of your degree after graduation and in some instances a criminal conviction can prevent you from obtaining some special occupational licenses from the State. Therefore it is always in your best interest to consult with an Attorney if you are every charged with a criminal offense. STUDENT LEGAL SERVICES provides a number of services to students who are charged with a crime ranging from advice to representation in court proceedings depending upon the type of legal matter involved.

CONTACT US at 419.530.7230 or stop by the office located in Suite 1533 of the Student Union on the University's Main Campus to schedule an appointment if you receive a criminal charge.

Alcohol and the Law
In a college atmosphere students are susceptible to the pressure from peers to consume alcohol. Most college students consume their first prior to reaching the specified age required by law. 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. This section describes the potential legal consequences of committing an alcohol-related criminal offense.
  • Underage Consumption, Purchasing or Possession of Alcohol
  • Providing Alcohol to an Underage Person
  • Fake ID
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (DUI)
  • Open Container

Underage Consumption, Purchasing or Possession of Alcohol
The legal drinking age in Ohio for consumption of an alcoholic beverage is 21 years old. Anyone purchasing, possessing, or consuming alcohol prior to their 21st birthday is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalties associated with this offense are 6 months imprisonment and/or a $1,000 fine. A person under the age of 21 “holding” an alcoholic beverage is in “possession” and subject to prosecution for a first degree misdemeanor.

Providing Alcohol to an Underage Person
Further, a person who furnishes alcohol to an underage person is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalties associated with this offense are 6 months imprisonment and/or $1,000 fine. Thus, a social host faces criminal liability for allowing underage persons to consume alcohol at his party if he knows the person is not 21 years of age.

Fake ID
A favorite idea among college students is the use of “fake identification” to make themselves legal drinking age. However, possession or display of a fictitious identification 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 6 months imprisonment and/or a $1000 fine. Moreover, the fictitious operator's license is utilized to purchase alcohol or enter an establishment that serves alcohol, the minimum fine must be at least $250.00 and the person displaying the fictitious operator's license may have his valid operator's license suspended for 3 years.

Disorderly Conduct
Do you get loud and boisterous when you drink? Do you have violent tendencies when you consume alcohol? Disorderly conduct occurs when one recklessly causes inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to another due to offensive conduct. Disorderly conduct while intoxicated can be charges as a forth degree misdemeanor or a minor misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for this offense is 30 days in jail and/or a $250.00 fine.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (DUI)
Not only is Driving Under the Influence a great way to harm yourself and others, it is also a criminal offense. In Ohio, a person may not operate a motor vehicle if he is impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. The maximum penalties for operating a vehicle while under the influence for a first time offender is 6 months imprisonment (mandatory 3 day stay in jail is imposed) and/or a $1,075.00 fine. In addition, you could lose your license from 6 months up to 3 years. Don’t let a friend/ classmate drive away from a bar/ party after consuming alcohol.

Open Container
In Ohio, it is illegal to possess in public an open container of alcohol either in public or in a motor vehicle. If convicted of this offense, the maximum penalty is a $150.00 fine. Consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle is a fourth degree misdemeanor with maximum penalties of 30 days imprisonment and/or a $250.00 fine.


Let's have a Party!
Are you thinking of hosting a PARTY? Are you planning on serving ALCOHOL? The following are some things you might want to consider before tapping that first keg or inviting that first guest.

The host of the party is accountable for all persons attending the party. Therefore, not only can the host be held criminally liable for such offenses as; underage consumption, contributing to a minor, disorderly conduct, etc. he can also be held liable for property damages caused by his guests as for personal injury resulting from the consumption of alcohol.

Excessive noise.
Both the state and city have laws, which prohibit noise pollution. A first time noise violation is a minor misdemeanor whereas a second offence is a second-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalties for such offenses range from a $150.00 fine to 90 days in jail and/or a $750.00 fine respectively.

Minimizing Your Risks:
In planning your party, you should review your lease to determine if restrictions exist. A violation of the lease may be grounds for eviction by the landlord.

Further you might want to contact your neighbors and ask that they contact you with complaints rather than the police to give you the opportunity to first remedy the problem. Depending on the size and location of your party, you may need to obtain an alcohol permit.

In addition, consider the following tips:

  1. Use a theme other than alcohol.
  2. Provide alternative beverages for non-drinkers.
  3. Serve food or snacks.
  4. Provide transportation or accommodations for impaired individuals. (DO NOT LET THEM DRIVE).
  5. Obtain proper permits.
  6. Require valid Ohio Driver’s License as identification.
  7. Set limits on the quantity of alcohol.
  8. Provide trash containers to prevent litter.

Further, as host you should monitor your guests to avoid underage possession or consumption. You should also monitor the loudness of your party to prevent disturbance of neighbors.

General Tips if Confronted by an Officer:

Many students feel compelled to play 20 questions when confronted by a Police Officer. Or, some students try to play the wise guy or “cop an attitude” with the officer. When confronted by an officer of the law for any type of violation, the best thing you can do is to cooperate. Do not play 20 questions. Do not try to hide anything. Do not play the wise guy. If you decide to give the officer a hard time, it will only make the situation worse and possibly lead to an arrest. It is easier for your attorney to fight one charge, rather than having to fight charges for “resisting arrest” and “obstructing official business” as well. Further, there is nothing worse than having to make that “one phone call” from a holding cell at the jail and having to explain to your parents. Simply put, keep your mouth shut and seek the help of your attorney.

This page does not constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to substitute legal advice. If you have been charged with a criminal offense contact an attorney.

Last Updated: 6/27/22