Alcohol and the Law

Bowling Green State University’s Alcohol Policy

Bowling Green State University recognizes that the decision to use alcoholic beverages is a personal choice; however, this choice must be made in accordance with the laws of the state of Ohio. In addition, the mature and responsible consumption of alcohol must be consistent with the mission and Core Values of the University and in accordance with the Bowling Green State University Code of Student Conduct. (Section 6.D.2 prohibits the use, possession or distribution of alcoholic beverages except as expressly permitted by the law and University policy.)

Before you choose to break the law, please review the risks you encounter, such as:

  • possible fine
  • imprisonment
  • criminal record
  • embarrassment
  • career jeopardy
  • reputation jeopardy
  • loss of self-esteem
  • loss of job
  • suspension from the University
  • death

You have a responsibility to follow the laws of your city, state and nation. If you fail to live up to that responsibility, you may face certain penalties. Imposing penalties upon you is an option even if a victim of your conduct is not a student and is not choosing to prosecute. The student conduct process can be initiated through the Office of the Dean of Students at 419-372-2843.

The legal drinking age in Ohio for consumption of an alcoholic beverage is 21. Purchasing, possessing or consuming alcohol under the age of 21 is a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalties associated with this offense are six months imprisonment or a $1,000 fine or both. Any student under the age of 21, therefore, risks being imprisoned and fined when he/she decides to drink alcohol on or off campus.

A person who furnishes alcohol to an underage person is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalties associated with this offense are six months imprisonment or $1,000 fine or both. A social host, therefore, risks being fined and imprisoned when he/she furnishes alcohol to a person he/she knows or should know is not 21 years of age.

Possession or display of a fictitious operator's license is a first-degree misdemeanor. The offense includes mere possession of a fictitious license or display of someone else's valid operator's license. The maximum penalties for this offense are six months imprisonment or a $1,000 fine or both. Moreover, if the fictitious operator's license is utilized to purchase alcohol or enter an establishment that serves alcohol, the minimum fine must be at least $250 and the person displaying the fictitious operator's license may have his/her valid operator's license suspended for three years.

In Ohio, a person may not operate a motor vehicle if he/she is impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. The maximum penalty for operating a vehicle while under the influence is six months imprisonment (mandatory at least three days in jail) or a $1,000 fine (a mandatory minimum fine of $250) or both. In addition, the operator must forfeit his/her driving privileges for six months.

It is illegal to possess, in public, an open container of an alcoholic beverage. Conviction of this offense carries a maximum penalty of a $100 fine. Consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle is a fourth-degree misdemeanor with maximum penalties of 30 days imprisonment or a $250 fine or both.

Disorderly conduct while intoxicated is a minor misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of a $100 fine. Disorderly conduct occurs when one recklessly causes inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to another due to offensive conduct.

Before you choose to break the law, please review the risks you encounter, namely possible fine, imprisonment, criminal record, embarrassment, career jeopardy, reputation jeopardy, loss of self-esteem, loss of job, suspension from the University, serious medical conditions or possible death.

More information about laws governing the sale and possession of alcohol and other drugs, as well as penalties for violations of these laws, may be obtained from the BGSU Police Department, Student Legal Services, the Jerome Library or the City of Bowling Green Police Division.