DWIs: What’s the risk for college students?

On Behalf of | Aug 6, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Alcohol consumption is often deeply integrated into college culture. This is partly because many individuals are students in college when they come of legal age to both buy and drink alcohol.

It is not only students who are of age that partake in alcohol consumption either. There is a considerable rate of underage drinking that occurs on college campuses as well. Regardless of whether students are underage or have turned 21, it is critical for students and their parents to be aware of the risks they face if they deal with charges of driving under the influence.

The first risk? Criminal charges

Usually, the most serious risk that college students face is the consequences of criminal charges. In North Carolina, drinking and driving under the age of 21 is a misdemeanor, often leading to:

  • License revocation for up to one year
  • Up to 60 days of jail time
  • Up to $1,000 in fines

Students under 21 might face stricter penalties because of North Carolina’s zero-tolerance policy. But students 21 and older still face considerable penalties if charged with a DWI.

Parents are often well aware that a DWI conviction on a students’ criminal record can no doubt affect students’ futures, as we have discussed in previous blog posts. A conviction can affect their ability to qualify for insurance and even certain employment opportunities.

However, DWI charges can have immediate impacts on their educational aspirations as well.

How do DWI charges affect students’ college careers?

The criminal and administrative penalties outlined under North Carolina law are not the only potential ramifications of which students and families should be aware. Colleges and universities might also impose consequences on students facing DWI charges.

In many cases, the illegal use of alcohol – including drinking and driving – is not only against the law but also against many schools’ codes of conduct and student policies. Take Duke University for example. A DWI, even if not on campus, violates their alcohol policy. This could lead students to face:

  • Disciplinary actions for violating the policy
  • Academic probation or blocks from registration for a semester
  • Loss of scholarships or financial aid
  • Suspension or removal from sports teams

Driving under the influence might be a one-time mistake, but it can have serious lasting penalties. That is why it is especially important for students to seek experienced defense to protect their futures and opportunities.