One of the unfortunate realities when it comes to underage drinking and college students is that it often crosses the line from mere experimentation to dangerous overindulgence. Indeed, statistics have shown that levels of binge drinking among college students continue to rise despite the education and enforcement efforts of officials at schools here in Missouri and throughout the U.S.
Interestingly, lawmakers in the state of Wisconsin are considering a somewhat novel approach to the problem of underage drinking: granting both academic and criminal immunity to those who seek assistance for themselves or others in those scenarios involving dangerous intoxication levels.
The immunity in question would be granted by two separate bills currently under deliberation in the state legislature:
- The first bill would prohibit the UW System Board of Regents from handing down academic-related punishment (suspension, expulsion, enrollment restrictions, etc.) against those intoxicated individuals who call 911 for medical assistance for either themselves or others. This academic immunity would also apply when the intoxicated student calls for help from law enforcement.
- The second bill would grant those individuals who call 911 for medical assistance for another immunity from underage drinking charges or any other intoxication-related criminal charges. Here, the person who called would be required to remain on the scene and provide assistance to law enforcement officials
“This law will help make Wisconsin a healthier, safer place where young adults do not have to fear being cited for underage drinking if they are being responsible enough to get help when they need it,” said Rep. Terese Berceau (D-Madison), sponsor of the first bill.
It is worth noting, however, that the University of Wisconsin Police Department has actually spoken out against both measures, claiming that they are entirely unnecessary given that the department already has responsible action guidelines in place for underage drinking.
What are your thoughts on this type of legislation? Is it a bad idea or will it help save lives?
If you have been charged with underage drinking or drunk driving, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced attorney who will explain your options, and fight to protect your future.
Source: The Badger Herald, “Students could see immunity from underage drinking tickets,” Aaron Drews, October 3, 2013