A DUI conviction can harm a young adult’s college career in many ways. They could face expulsion from their university or college, lose their financial aid or scholarships, miss out on potential career opportunities, and have difficulty with finding housing, among other things.
A conviction for drunken driving can significantly affect any Pennsylvania resident at any age. However, young adults who end up with a conviction may see their lives upended as they are just starting out on their own.
Understanding the Legal Consequences of a DUI Violation for a College Student
The legal penalties associated with a drunken-driving charge affect college students in a manner similar to other adults. Ultimately, though, these penalties can spill over and greatly affect the student’s ability to attend school or to accept an internship.
Some of the legal consequences you may face after a DUI charge include:
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), someone convicted of a first-offense DUI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.10% or more could have their license suspended for 12 months. For a college student who lives far from campus or is attempting to work while going to school, not being able to drive can lead to a loss of some educational opportunities.
For a college student who may not have much extra money to start with, suffering a DUI conviction can enhance this problem. Fines of anywhere from $300 to $5,000 are possible for first-time offenders, depending on the BAC level.
Alcohol Treatment and Education Requirements
Anyone convicted of a DUI could receive a court order to attend alcohol highway safety school classes. Having to spend time in these classes can leave the college student unable to focus on his or her university studies.
If the college student is ordered to go to an alcohol treatment center, the student may be unable to attend classes at college for an entire semester.
For a college student convicted of driving under the influence with a high BAC, a prison sentence of up to six months is a possible penalty. Should the student have to spend time in prison or jail after a DUI arrest and conviction, this can lead to having to withdraw from school.
We Are Ready to Help You with Your DUI-Related Legal Problems
Because of these potential problems, you may want to have a drunk driving attorney with our firm to represent you. They fight to help you avoid the harshest penalties. Our legal team will use the facts in the case to negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf, seeking a reduction in penalties or a dismissal of the charge.
Understanding the Non-Legal Consequences of a College Student Facing a DUI Charge
When a college student pleads guilty to a charge of driving while under the influence, the legal problems are often severe, but the problems do not stop there. College students may have mental health issues after a drunken-driving conviction. They may also experience stress about missing school to deal with court hearings and any penalties the court assigns.
Here are some of the consequences not related to the legal proceedings that a student may experience after being convicted on a drunken-driving charge.
Expulsion or Suspension from School
Some schools have code of conduct requirements that all students must follow to remain enrolled. At such schools, a conviction for DUI can result in a violation of the code, leading to the student’s expulsion.
Other times, the student may end up with a suspension, which interrupts their semester, often without a refund of tuition costs. This can be almost as devastating as an expulsion.
Loss of Graduate School Opportunities
Even if the undergraduate student’s school does not suspend or expel them after a DUI conviction, this issue could affect the student’s future educational opportunities.
For example, some graduate programs, especially highly competitive programs, may not accept someone who has a drunken-driving conviction. If the graduate program does a background check on the student, the DUI will show up on it.
Loss of Financial Aid
Depending on the terms of any grants, student loans, or other types of financial aid the student receives, a DUI conviction could cause the student to forfeit this aid. This financial loss could leave the student unable to continue going to school, derailing their dreams of receiving a diploma. If the student is part of an athletic team in school, the DUI conviction could result in a loss of the athletic scholarship as well.
Loss of Housing
Some colleges may remove a student convicted of a crime, including DUI, from university housing. Some apartment owners may not rent to a student who has a DUI on his or her record, either.
As another consequence of a DUI conviction, the student may see his or her fledgling credit score suffer significantly. This can lead to further problems with finding an affordable apartment.
Loss of Career Dreams
If a student has expectations of becoming a doctor, a lawyer, a nurse, or of entering similar professions, the DUI conviction could put an end to those plans. With careers like these, the student needs a professional license. A DUI conviction negates the chance of obtaining a license for several years or perhaps permanently.
Without the license in hand, even if the student manages to graduate from college with the proper education, they cannot work in the desired profession.
Working Toward a Lesser Penalty
Because of the significant consequences of a drunk driving conviction for a college student, trying to fight the charge is a smart decision.
Our team will study the facts in your case, seeking any discrepancies that could help us argue for a reduction in the severity of the charge or a dismissal. For example, if law enforcement does not follow the rules in state statute Chapter 38, this gives us a good chance to fight the charges.
We are Ready to Help with Your Defense Against DUI Charges
Rather than pleading guilty to a drunk driving charge, consider hiring the team at McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., to defend you and protect your rights. We will study all aspects of the case, preparing the best possible defense for you based on your particular situation.
Contact us today for a review of your case. Call our Pennsylvania DUI lawyer at (610) 991-7219.