Is that Drink Worth Throwing Away My Future?

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The penalties for DUI and DWI have become more stringent over time. States continue to increase the penalties for breaking drinking and driving laws. College students in particular can face far more severe consequences for a DUI or DWI conviction than they may have ever realized.
College Student DUI Penalties
DUI convictions and charges can have very serious consequences for a college career.
Possible consequences for a DUI for a college student can include:
  • Scholarship and financial aid denial
  • Student housing loss
  • Suspension of enrollment
  • Admission denial
Depending upon each learning institution’s code of conduct policy, a DUI conviction can result in disciplinary measures such as receiving an official warning, reprimand, an assignment for community service, paying restitution and incurring suspensions and other restrictions. In the most severe cases, a student may be expelled and even face a retraction of course credits or degrees that were previously awarded.

General DUI Penalties

DUI penalties vary from state to state; however, most states are adopting more strict policies and enforcement. For example, in Pennsylvania, varied penalties exist according to the number of convictions and amount of alcohol found:

First Offense

  • BAC between .08 to .99 - $300 fine
  • BAC between .10 to .159 - 2 days to 6 months in prison, $500-$5,000 fine and 12 month driver’s license suspension. If the court mandates, offenders may receive restricted licenses after 60 days.
  • BAC above .16 - 3 days to 6 months in prison, $1,000-$5,000 fine and a 12 month driver’s license suspension Restricted licenses can be obtained after 60 days if the court allows

Second Offense

  • BAC between .08 to.99-5 days to 6 months in jail, fine between $300- $2,500 and 12 month driver’s license suspension
  • BAC from .10 to.159-30 days to 6 months in prison, $750-$5,000 fine and 12 month driver’s license suspension
  • BAC above .16-from 90 days to 5 years in prison, 1,500 fine and 18 month driver’s license suspension.

Third Offense

  • BAC between .08 to.99 - 10 days to 2 years in jail, fine between $500- $5,000 and 12 month driver’s license suspension
  • BAC between .10 to .159  - 90 days to 5 years in prison, $1,500-$10,000 fine and 18 month driver’s license suspension
  • BAC above .16 - 1-5 years in prison, minimum $2,500 fine and 18 month driver’s license suspension

In addition, all second and third offenders are required to install ignition interlock devices for a year and may be ordered to attend alcohol screening and rehabilitation classes.

Future DUI Consequences

Even students who are fortunate enough to avoid a DUI conviction affecting their college careers, it could most certainly affect future employment opportunities. Job applications require that candidates disclose criminal convictions. There are a number of employers who will dismiss an application entirely based upon a DUI conviction or charge alone. Some employers are actually required to do so, especially for felony DUI.

Licensing and further education opportunities can also be hindered by a DUI. For instance, legal and nursing careers require licensing that could be denied as a result of a felony DUI.

It goes without saying, that it is better to avoid DUI and DWI situations altogether. However, should you or someone you know face a DUI or DWI conviction, a criminal defense attorney can be consulted to discuss what the consequences are and determine a suitable legal strategy to minimize negative outcomes as much as possible.

A legal researcher who stays on top of the latest DUI laws, Kelly Kovacic writes articles for the legal community.  As was mentioned, PA DUI penalties are very harsh and if you are facing these charges you need to contact a lawyer for help. The Law Offices of Steve E. Kellis have the expertise and years of experience to help keep you from experiencing the devastating consequences resulting from a DUI charge.
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