College Students & DUI: What to Expect

College drinking hijinks in the movies are one thing. Their consequences in real life are another.

About 58 percent of full-time college students said they’d consumed alcohol in the last month. One in four college students reported they’d suffered academic consequences, such as missed classes or poor exam performance, as a result.

But if you’re a college student convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in PA, those college DUI consequences increase significantly. Learn what to expect if you’re convicted during your college career.

Disciplinary Action

If you get a DUI, you may face a disciplinary hearing for violating the college’s student code of conduct. The violation doesn’t necessarily need to happen on campus for the college to impose penalties. It’s not uncommon for conduct codes to dictate that the school can take disciplinary action regardless of where the incident occurs.

Suspension is one action colleges can take against a student with a DUI. Depending on the specific guidelines of your school, you may not be able to take classes to advance your degree during the suspension. It may also bar you from participation in activities, such as attending athletic events, on school-owned property.

The college may also have the option to expel you. In addition, the school may include a notation on your official transcript that you were dismissed because of conduct, making it harder to re-enroll at a quality school later.

Other penalties can include anything from a disciplinary warning to alcohol education program completion to—if you’re under 21—parental notification. A DUI conviction might also affect the ability to stay in or obtain on-campus housing.

Loss of Scholarships

Staying clear of alcohol use is often a condition of maintaining academic or athletic scholarship eligibility. If you rely on scholarships to pay for school, a DUI conviction can cut off this important source of funding. Loss of scholarship could force you to find alternative ways to pay for school, such as private loans or out-of-pocket payments. If you’re unable to pay, you may need to withdraw.

Loss of License

If you’re in a PA college, DUI consequences often include loss of license, depending on your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and whether you’ve had prior DUI offenses.

Underage DUI convictions in Pennsylvania carry serious consequences. You’ll automatically be charged at the state’s highest BAC tier, no matter how much—or how little—alcohol you consumed.

In addition, you may be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device before license reinstatement, an expensive penalty that can cost more than $1,000 per car—and that’s on top of the other fines and court costs you will pay if convicted.

Loss of Freedom

When you get a second or subsequent DUI in PA, you also face the possibility of serving jail time. The sentence will vary based on your BAC at the time of the incident as well as other factors, such as whether your actions injured someone.

Loss of Friendships

As a convicted DUI offender, the penalties you face, from loss of license to school suspension, have a serious impact on friendships. For example, it’s harder to keep those social connections if you’re always asking friends to drive you somewhere or you can’t attend classes because you’ve been suspended from college.

Don’t let college DUI consequences ruin your life.

You’re working hard in school to lay the foundation for a successful post-college life. If you have been charged with DUI, talk with attorney Mark Walmer, a former Lancaster County prosecutor with the expertise to guide you through a tough situation.

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