Dear College Friends: Please Don’t DUI

man leaning over steering wheel of a car with a beer in hand

It’s the end of summer, and college classes are underway. All the more reason to hang out with your friends, have a few drinks, and make the most of the nice weather while it lasts, right? But the last thing you want is to drink a little too much and wave off the idea of getting a ride home. If you end up with a DUI, everything you worked for at school can fall apart very quickly.

For starters, while a first-time DUI is often classified as a misdemeanor (instead of a felony), if you’re under 21, you may face a longer license suspension period. In Pennsylvania, it’s a full year. That means if you can’t get a conditional license that allows you to drive to school, just getting to classes could be very difficult.

Whether the police report your DUI to your school depends on the laws in your state, your school’s conduct policy, and even the relationship between the police department and your school. In short, there’s no strict rule, rhyme, or reason to whether the authorities will notify your college — but they could.

Check your school’s code of conduct to see if you’re required to report any arrests or convictions. At some schools, simply failing to report this information could be grounds for discipline, aside from any consequences directly related to the offense.

Let’s say the school requires you to let them know if you get into this kind of trouble. One of the biggest concerns is the loss of scholarships and financial aid. Taking away a scholarship could be a direct consequence, or, if you’re suspended for a period of time, it could be gone when you get back. If you live on campus, you could lose your housing. The worst-case scenario is simply being expelled — it does happen.

Even if the school doesn’t know, a DUI stays on your record for a good chunk of time (sometimes for life) and can make some professions harder to pursue. Jobs that require licensing (for example, becoming a doctor, nurse, attorney, or even a teacher) often won’t accept a DUI on someone’s record. So on top of everything, you might also need to reconsider your major. And that’s a major bummer.

A lot of consequences do depend on the particulars of your situation, but none of them are great. It’s better for everyone to just drive safely.

Contact Us If You’re Faced With a DUI Charge

If you are a college student who is facing a DUI charge, Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano can help. We can assist you with our years of experience in criminal defense. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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