Common Criminal Offenses
The following is a list of criminal offenses seen most often at Ohio University and when or why students are charged on or off campus. This is by no means an exhaustive list, it is just a guide to the citations we most commonly see.
Underage Consumption of Alcohol:
being “under the influence of alcohol” in a public place while under the age of 21. A public place includes a bar, a public street or sidewalk. This charge requires that the effect of the alcohol be noticeable. No breath test is required. A police officer has the right to question persons who “look young” and ask if they have been drinking.
When or why? Most students are charged with underage consumption on the street while walking around intoxicated or at an outdoor party. If they look like they are stumbling, impaired or confused, police will probably stop them. They can also be charged if caught by an RA in a residence hall if the RA has reason to believe that an underage resident possesses or is consuming alcohol.
Underage Possession of Alcohol:
Being in possession of an alcoholic beverage, even if you were not actually drinking it.
When or why? Students are often charged with this offense if they were “just holding your friend’s beer for them”.
being intoxicated in any area that is considered public property, such as bars, public sidewalks and streets.
When or why? Students are often charged with this offense when they are on the street or attending an outdoor house party and they do something that draws attention to them, causing police to approach them.
having an open container of alcohol in a public place, or having an open container of alcohol in a moving or stationary vehicle while driving or being a passenger.
When or why? Students are most often cited with this offense while attending outdoor house parties and they step onto a sidewalk or street with an open beer can or cup.
providing alcohol to persons under the age of 21. A parent or spouse of an underage person may provide alcohol to them but must be present at the time.
When or why? Students are often charged with this offense when they are caught giving alcohol to their underage friends at a party, or when hosting party and allowing underage persons to drink.
recklessly causing inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to another due to offensive conduct, or engaging in conduct or creating a condition that presents a physical risk of harm to oneself, another, or property.
When or why?> Disorderly conduct by intoxication is a common offense that students are charged with when they are intoxicated and arguing or fighting with someone in a public place, arguing with a police officer or doing something to endanger themselves or their friends while intoxicated.
Persistent Disorderly Conduct:
persisting in behavior that is considered disorderly conduct after a reasonable warning or request to desist.
When or Why? Students are charged with this offense in many situations, including continuing to argue with a police officer or “explain” the situation after being warned by the police officer to stop.
Misrepresentation of Age or Identity (Fake ID):
knowingly misrepresenting your name and/or age for purposes of purchasing beer or liquor. This includes using a “fake ID” or using someone else`s valid ID.
When or why? Students are often cited with fake id when they are searched by police and the false identification is found among their personal belongings, or when they are caught using identification that does not belong to them when purchasing alcohol.
Marijuana and Paraphernalia Possession:
possessing marijuana and/or paraphernalia, which is an auxiliary device that aids in the use of drugs.
When or why? Students are most often caught smoking marijuana outside where the scent can be detected, or when they are pulled over for a traffic stop. Remember, paraphernalia is anything that can be used to aid drug use…even a plastic bag to hold the pot.
Operating a Vehicle While Under the Influence (OVI, or formerly known as DUI):
operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. This is not limited to a MOTOR vehicle.
When or why? Students often choose to drive a vehicle under the false assumption that they have “sobered up” enough to drive or they didn’t have enough drinks to be impaired. The legal BAC (blood alcohol content) limit is .08, which for some students, does not equal much alcohol.
Noise Ordinance Violation:
causing excessive noise that can be heard fifty feet or more from the street after 10pm on weekdays or 12am on weekends.
When or why? Students often get noise violations when they are hosting noisy parties. A violation can be issued either after someone complains or at an officer’s discretion.
The best way to avoid being charged with these offenses is obvious:
- DON’T drink alcohol if you are under the age of 21. DON’T use illegal drugs.
- If you are over 21, be responsible about your alcohol consumption and distribution. Don’t enable or encourage underage drinking; don’t purchase alcohol for or serve alcohol to underage persons. Be responsible when you throw a party.
- Don’t hang around in the wrong place with the wrong people. Even if you don’t drink or use drugs, you can be arrested and/or cited if you happen to be in a situation where others are breaking the law.
- Don’t operate a vehicle while you are impaired, even a bicycle.
See our fliers in the downloads section for tips on how to avoid legal trouble.