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Athens-Clarke County changes rules for arresting underage drinkers

Friday, June 26, 2015

college student arrest underage drinkingJune 25, 2015.  The joke among University of Georgia (UGA) students has always been that when you graduate from UGA your diploma comes with a criminal record. It is almost impossible to attend UGA and not be arrested for underage drinking these days. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a student that has not been arrested and jailed for underage drinking.  Trying to stop 18-20 year old students from drinking is like trying to stop the wind from blowing. Most of the drinking and de-pressurizing from the pressures of the academically rigorous University of Georgia occurs in downtown Athens now that most of the Fraternities on campus have either been neutered, closed or shamed out of existence. This means that in stead of there being 30 or more house parties scattered across the town on a Friday or Saturday night, all of the action is concentrated 3 or 4 blocks in downtown Athens which is more reminiscent  of Bourbon Street in New Orleans than the sleepy and mostly boarded up downtown of the 1980's and early 1990's that birthed REM and the alternative music scene in the south.  Police Officers stand on the street corners in packs of 3 and 4 and pick off students like fish in a barrel.  

This may be changing as Athens-Clarke County Police are changing there policy on fingerprinting, taking mug shots and jailing under age boys and girls apparently in response to new state wide legislation according to Senate Bill 160, which was enacted by the Georgia legislature earlier this year, calls for citations rather than custodial arrests when people under 21 are charged with underage possession of alcohol and  misrepresenting their ages or identities with fake IDs.  This will be good news for Georgia college students who often have trouble getting jobs compared to their peers from out of state schools that take a more tolerant position on underage drinking.   

-Author: George Creal





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