The Daily Gamecock

Website aims to offer students legal advice

Business major launches online service detailing legislation pertaining to alcohol

Third-year business student Alex Waelde launched Sunday afternoon in an effort to provide students with an online guide to legislation involving fake IDs, open containers, driving under the influence, among a variety of other violations.

Waelde said that the service has a simple premise: “Did you get a ticket? This is exactly how you can fix it, or this is what’s going to happen to you; get a lawyer.”

Waelde — self-described as the “go-to” guy in regard to drinking tickets — said the service attempts to be as comprehensive and as accurate as possible.

“I realized I was helping so many people that there needed to be something online,” Waelde said.

After searching the Internet he found that “everything was undated or incorrect.”

He saw an opportunity and capitalized on it, delving into research.

“We literally get every student manual, pamphlet and brochure that’s provided. I’ve called every telephone number and used every piece of contact information I’ve found,” Waelde said.

The research manifests itself in a fairly easy-to-navigate website with citations for almost every single piece of law or statement posted. This goes hand in hand with Waelde’s desire to disprove common misconceptions.

“The biggest misconception [at USC] is that when you get a drinking ticket, you lose your scholarship, but that’s not true.” Waelde said. “Since the site went live, I’ve had an explosion of text messages and emails about that misconception.”

Debunking misconceptions like this may prove most valuable to students.

According to Waelde, the site has already received good news. In an email, a student reported that a police officer had told her that Alcohol Education Program classes could not replace a false identification charge when legislation ran contrary to that.

“A lot of people at the university have never gotten a ticket, so they don’t really know how the system works,” said Erica Adams, a second-year nursing student said. “[] is great because it can ensure people don’t get lost in the system.”

Though she hasn’t needed to consult the Web page for herself, Adams said that the site provided her with information she hadn’t known before.

The website is divided into pages devoted to certain counties and schools. Each county — currently only Charleston and Richland — has its own page with the legislation pertinent to it. School pages — currently USC and College of Charleston — are filled with information that specify the academic repercussions of various charges.

Waelde is set to begin expanding the website with “consultants” who will help in overseeing the various different pages. Currently he’s working on pages for Greenville and Anderson counties as well as the Citadel, Clemson, Coastal Carolina and Charleston Southern University.

To get the word out, Waelde has created a Facebook page and a Twitter account for the website, which currently both have small followings. Waelde said this is to be expected as many don’t want to be the “first” to follow or like a page but that he has already has seen followers increasing.

Waelde said he plans to keep the service free for students through advertising.


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