As summer ends, many college freshmen will have their first taste of freedom as they head off to college. Unfortunately, those first weeks on campus often include drinking. According to the Impaired Driving Center at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, freshman tend to drink more than upperclassmen. However, an alarming number of college students overall have reported that they are guilty of drunk driving or riding in the car with an intoxicated driver.
Underage Drinking and Drunk Driving Penalties
Simply put, underage drinking is illegal, and all college students should keep in mind that that if they get behind the wheel, they are risking their life and the lives of their passengers and others on the road. For students younger than 21 years, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.02 percent or higher. This is significantly lower than the 0.08 percent limit for older drivers.
Underage drinkers caught behind the wheel face a license suspension of at least three months. Although this may not seem like a harsh punishment, additional criminal penalties will include all or some of the following:
- $400 fine
- Up to 30 days in jail
- License reinstatement fees
- Completing an alcohol and drug safety program
- Community service
However, the penalties are much more severe for second and third time offenders, those who have injured others in a car accident, and those that refuse a breathalyzer test.
How Will a DUI Affect My College Career?
Universities and colleges set their own rules for handling criminal convictions and illegal behavior. It is important to note that even if a student gets cleared from a charge for driving under the influence (DUI), the university may impose their own penalties. These include:
- Denied admissions or initial application denial
- Loss of campus housing
- Removal from sports teams and clubs
However, even if a university allows a student to remain enrolled, those that face extended jail time will most likely be forced to withdraw for the semester. A felony DUI conviction may also disqualify those from applying for or receiving federal financial aid. Additionally, private scholarships may withdraw their funding. A college student convicted of a DUI can face serious financial consequences.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Fight for Victims Injured by Drunk Drivers
If you or someone you love has been injured by a drunk driver, call Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. at 803-929-3600 today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. An experienced Columbia car accident lawyer can help those who suffer due to the negligence of another obtain the justice they deserve and the compensation necessary to recover.
Our attorneys are proud to provide the highest quality legal service and exceptional representation to injured victims and their families throughout South Carolina, including the areas of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.