Underage drinking consequences similar on and off campus


Underage students caught drinking alcohol on campus could face slightly different consequences than students caught off campus.


Colorado State University Student Legal Services Staff Attorney Forrest Orswell said that students on and off campus are at risk of receiving a minor in possession ticket.

“When you’re written into county court for an MIP, it results in a statewide criminal charge, meaning it goes on your record right away,” Orswell said.

A first offense MIP ticket can include no more than a $100 fine and a possible court-mandated enrollment in a substance abuse program.

Consequences can become more severe as offenses increase, according to Orswell.

“We actually have a new law that came into effect this last July that makes it easy for a student that has been charged with a minor in possession of alcohol or marijuana to seal the criminal record as long as they finish up what they are supposed to do with the court,” Orswell said.

Orswell said he recommends students come to Student Legal Services to ensure everything goes well.

Students contacted on campus by CSU police may receive an administrative ticket instead of an MIP.

According to CSUPD Chief Scott Harris, an administrative ticket can be issued to students and staff instead of a ticket for any criminal violation.

“The administrative citation does not carry a criminal penalty or create a criminal history for the recipient,” Harris said. “However, an administrative ticket does trigger an internal university process that requires the student’s conduct to be reviewed by Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct, and it also requires the student to pay an associated monetary fine.”

CSUPD officers have the option of either issuing an MIP or an administrative ticket. Often, if a student is not compliant with an officer, the officer will choose to write an MIP instead of an administrative ticket, Orswell said.


Students will also only receive an administrative ticket once. On the second offense, CSUPD officers will often write an MIP instead of the administrative ticket, Orswell said. CSUPD has been writing more administrative tickets recently, which Orswell said is good for students.

Orswell said he recommends students be smart when dealing with police officers.

“Don’t lie, don’t run and don’t do anything stupid, but you may want to remain quiet as well,” Orswell said. “And if you haven’t been drinking, ask to take a breathalyzer.”

When students are caught on and off of campus, they face consequences through Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services. An incident report is produced and hearing officers review the case, according to Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services Craig Chesson.

If Student Conduct Services decides charges are warranted, the student is notified and is required to meet with the conduct office.

The hearing officer will then determine if the student violated the conduct code and will place educational sanctions, such as workshops on alcohol awareness, or decision making or an assessment on the student.

“The purpose of, particularly the assessment, is so the student can be aware of risk factors, so they can learn from this event to make sure it doesn’t repeat,” Chesson said.

When an incident occurs off campus, Fort Collins and state police notify CSU and an incident report is created from police documents. According to Chesson, the conduct office works closely with the local and statewide police to get a full picture of the incident.

Chesson said that this process focuses on helping the student, not punishing them.

Collegian Reporter Sady Swanson can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @sadyswan.