According to studies done by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, university students face higher risks of misusing alcohol due, in part, to their tailgating and pre-gaming activities.

While there is nothing inherently risky about tailgating before autumn football games, most college tailgating involves alcohol consumption — often by under-21 students who aren’t of legal drinking age.

Could your pregame activities lead to a DUI?

There has long been a connection between college-age drinking and football games. Through the years, the prohibition against underage drinking by university students was honored more in the breach than the observance. However, the police offer who pulls you over on suspicion of drunk driving is not likely to be swayed by that argument.

Pre-gaming linked to binge drinking

It’s become culturally acceptable in many circles for university students to drink alcohol prior to attending school-sponsored events. But that doesn’t make it legal.

Students’ drinking behaviors can be influenced by their social interactions with others. If those in your dorm, sorority or fraternity think that there’s nothing wrong with 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds quaffing beer from a keg, you may convince yourself that it’s fine for you to indulge as well.

Beer sold at many games

Beer sales are now legal at some Oklahoma universities. That can also influence students’ mindsets about the relationship of alcohol to having a good time.

Alcohol drinking norms have consistent links to individuals’ alcohol intake and usage. If everyone around you seems to be sloshed, it’s not that great a leap for you to jump into the fray and get drunk, too.

Legal problems dog underage drinkers

One problem with the “everybody’s doing it” argument is that when you are underage, there is no legal limit for drinking. Even a sip of a just-opened beer or freshly mixed drink can get you arrested.

In that way, it is much similar to being caught with drugs even if you haven’t indulged. The mere possession of the drugs is the crime, regardless of your usage.

Protect yourself after a drunk driving arrest

If you are a college student who gets arrested on DUI charges, your university career could be in jeopardy. Scholarships and financial aid may be linked to your remaining in good moral standing. You could face loss of financial aid or even expulsion from the university if you get convicted.

Take this seriously and launch a strong defense to these allegations against you.