Students at UVA find that the authorities are generally very lenient, especially where alcohol is concerned. In many ways, campus police act more like surrogate parents than strict enforcers. They are mainly concerned with safety, and they are definitely not out to get anyone. RAs and other student security enforcers can be far more strict and obnoxious than the police are, which is the reverse of what you usually find at colleges. If you’re caught drinking publicly at UVA, the police are just as likely to ignore it or chuckle and make you toss your cup as they are to actually detain you.
UVA’s administration presses down hard on all hard-core drug use, however, and security is more reflective of this. Don’t expect security officials to look the same way at drugs as they may at alcohol. The primary goal of UVA security is to keep campus safe for everyone, and any run-ins you may have will reflect this. Whether you are of age or under 21, be aware that you can get arrested for being drunk in public, carrying an open container, or using/lending a fake ID. Going out to bars underage when you have been warned that the ABC is out patrolling is never a good idea either.