The weekends are getting rough for many University students. Police departments are out in full force working to limit underage drinking and to control parties. It is important for all students to know some of their rights when choosing to drink on or around campus.
University Student Legal Service provides plenty of advice. First of all, if you are younger than 21, you don’t really have an easy out. You are breaking the law, but this does not mean police can treat you as if you do not have any rights. If police approach you and ask for identification, the best idea is to hand it over and not resist.
If you decide to host a party, there are many things you can do to lessen chances of getting in trouble. First, tell your neighbors beforehand you are having a party beforehand, and have them let you know if there are any problems before calling police. Keep the party inside, limiting smokers to an area in the back and reminding them to stay quiet.
Police cannot enter a home unless they have a search warrant. This changes, however, if police have probable cause, like seeing people who look underage drinking. Simply being a student is not probable cause.
If there is nobody outside and the door is locked, leave it that way and settle people down inside until police leave. If you answer the door, police might try to forcibly enter your home. If police have no probable cause, this forced entrance is against your rights. If you believe your rights have been trampled, contact Student Legal Service.
Be honest with police and do not talk back. If you choose to drink on campus, do so responsibly. Know your limits and know when and how things are getting out of hand.