Underage drinking: something nearly every college student has or will experience, either as the one underage or as an over-21 friend of a minor. The laws governing alcohol distribution and consumption vary from state to state, although all of them follow the federal drinking age of 21.

Unfortunately, many college students and young people fail to learn about the specifics of the law in states where they reside. This becomes an issue when, in cases of investigation and arrest, the alleged lawbreakers do not know their rights and responsibilities.

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In the state of New Hampshire, persons under the age of 21 cannot transport alcohol, nor can they be in an area where alcoholic beverages are being served unless they are accompanied by someone over 21 (except in businesses with a club license). For instance, a person under 21 cannot drive his/her friend’s car if there is alcohol, even if it is in the trunk.

For many college students, these two laws are often misunderstood, leading to arrests and charges that might have easily been avoided had the parties responsible known what they were doing was not in compliance with state laws. A greater focus on alcohol awareness, both from the college and from the state government, would cut down on these incidences of misdemeanor offenses.

Granted, some people will break laws regardless of how much education they receive, whether it be out of sheer laziness or to oppose a law in which they do not believe. However, many college students are not on the lookout for opportunities to prove their moral audacity, nor are they simply lazy. Indeed, The Equinox would argue that the majority of students are willing to be in compliance with most of the more mundane alcohol laws—excepting drinking underage—if they know what they are.

Without the proper education and awareness, students are unintentionally putting themselves in potentially dangerous situations—dangerous in terms of their criminal record—and are taking a risk the consequences of which they have not calculated.

Students are going to participate in underage drinking and The Equinox is not holding to the belief that educational awareness will decrease that; however, we do believe that an increase in the legal education of students will help prevent them from putting themselves in situations for which they have not prepared. An educated population is one where citizens know their responsibilities and rights and act accordingly.


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