College students unwind and relax by hanging out with friends and partying after classes and on weekends. Alcohol is inevitably part of the college lifestyle. Although students are aware that drinking and driving is a violation of the law, their rational mind is clouded by the ingestion of alcohol. And before they know it, they have been apprehended by the police and booked for DUI.
Being charged with a DUI while in college has negative consequences that extend way beyond graduation. College freshmen who enroll right after high school graduation are usually 18 – 19 years old. And if you’re not yet 21, the penalties for minor DUI are harsher depending on the state where you are caught.
An example is Arizona, where the legal drinking age is 21 and minor DUI has a zero tolerance policy, which means that your blood alcohol level must be absolutely zero. Thus, if you’re studying for your college degree in a school or university in Arizona, and you’re charged with a DUI, on- or off-campus, the first thing you should do is to get a DUI defense attorney who will make sure you’ll avoid a conviction.
Aside from the possible jail time, stiff penalties and suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, here are other ways in which a DUI can ruin your college life.
You may be denied admission
Many universities and colleges require applicants to list your criminal conviction or arrest, if you have them. Multiple DUIs, even if they are only arrests, may be grounds for denying you admission into the school. If you withhold such information and are found out, the denial of admission may be for falsification of your application. A DUI can ruin your college life before it can even start.
You may lose your scholarship or financial aid
The authorities usually report a DUI to the college. Most colleges and universities require reporting of criminal convictions, including DUI, to the organization in charge of the program for your financial aid or scholarship. If you are the recipient of such, you could lose your funding or it could be suspended for a year.
- If you reside in campus housing, you could lose that, too.
- In a worst case scenario, like a felony DUI or multiple offenses, you may face expulsion.
- You may not be able to pursue your chosen career path.
Certain college degrees or graduate programs need government licensing, such as nursing, medical and law degrees. If you have a felony DUI conviction or several DUI misdemeanors, the college may deny you admission because your criminal record makes you ineligible for the license to practice your career. Before applying for a program that needs a government license, check with the licensing agency prior to enrolling so you will know if your DUI conviction will matter in your application.
Your employment opportunities will be limited.
After graduation from college, you begin applying for jobs. Jobs that require operating machinery or driving a company vehicle will automatically be off limits to you since companies cannot hire employees with DUI records for such positions. The employer runs the risk of you hurting other people in the course of your work and the employer will be liable for the damages incurred. They may also be sued for hiring a person with a DUI offense for certain jobs. The insurance companies may not pay and the premiums for the company will increase.
After painting such a dire picture of the consequences of a DUI arrest or conviction, rest assured that there are still recourses open to you. First, in your application for college or employment, tell the truth about your DUI record. Then, show the actions you have taken to improve your behavior, such as attending AA or counseling, and having a clean record for the recent past few years.