For many, college is a time to study, find what you're passionate about, make new friends, explore, and prepare yourself for the future. While choosing to do all of this, some decide to also work part-time and join various clubs and organizations.
With all this excitement and responsibility on your plate, it can be overwhelming. One of the ways students choose to release the stress is partying. While choosing to drink and have fun with your friends is completely acceptable, some students make the poor decision to drink and drive.
According to the government program, College Drinking Prevention, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes each year. While you may trust yourself or feel totally fine to drive, it's not worth risking your future by getting a DUI or worse, risking your life.
What to Do After a DUI Arrest
After being charged with a DUI, the first thing you should do is retain a qualified DUI attorney in your area. An experienced DUI lawyer can contest charges, push for less punitive options, and ultimately ensure your rights are being protected. Rhode Island DUI lawyer Stefanie Murphy notes the severity of a DUI charge:
"You can lose your driving privileges, which hinders your freedom and your ability to get to work. You'll also have to pay fines and restitution to anyone whose property or person has been damaged. It is therefore in your best interests to fight against being convicted and to keep your driver's license."
How a DUI Can Impact Your College Life
Generally speaking, the police will notify the college of a DUI. As a result, various college privileges you've earned will be stripped away, including:
1. Inability to live in on-campus housing
Many colleges have a Code of Conduct they enforce and impose their own strict penalties for students who find themselves in legal problems. One common penalty is the inability to live on campus.
2. Inability to receive necessary licenses
If you are studying to become a nurse or lawyer, prior DUI charges can affect your admission to a subsequent educational institution. A DUI charge can also inhibit you from receiving your license, or admission, to a particular field. All this being said, it may force you to change your major and career path.
Depending on the college and DUI charge, you may be asked to leave the university. Regardless if you are able to shake criminal charges, the college board may still expel you for your behavior.
How a DUI Can Impact Your Life in General
Beyond your college experience, a DUI charge can significantly affect your life both in the present and for years to come. It can affect various important factors, such as:
Family ties, interpersonal relationships, and your self-esteem can be damaged. Trust and responsibility in your relationships be hindered by your actions and make take time, if possible, to restore. Subsequently, you may find yourself struggling with self-esteem and how you view yourself.
Hiring a DUI lawyer can be costly. Then, the cost of bail, restitution, and paying for damages to your own car can add up. If you are convicted and have to serve jail time, you'll be losing out on much more than money; you'll be losing time from your life.
Depending on the severity of the charge, you may have your license suspended or stripped away for years. Some offenders may receive a hardship license, which enables you to drive to work, medical appointments, school, or the grocery store.
While there is nothing wrong with enjoying drinks with friends in a safe setting, the moment the scene changes to a vehicle, it's a different - and dangerous- story. Don't risk your future and your life by getting behind the wheel after drinking. You have too much to lose.