Driving under the influence is not only dangerous, it is against the law in all 50 states. Many believe that DUI is a minor offense because a first-time DUI in Florida is usually a misdemeanor charge; however, the state can issue strict penalties against a person who is convicted of DUI. While the average driver can lose many privileges upon a DUI conviction, a college student may face additional penalties from his own school, which can considerably set back his education.
Florida drivers should understand that the State of Florida treats DUI offenses very seriously. Although the national BAC limit is 0.08%, drivers who show signs of impairment behind the wheel will be arrested and taken into police custody. It is imperative to work with a knowledgeable lawyer at this time.
How Age Impacts a DUI Charge
A person who is 21 or older must maintain a BAC of 0.08% or below when operating a vehicle, while an under-21 driver must maintain a BAC of just 0.02% or below. In a zero-tolerance state like Florida, anyone who shows signs of impairment may be arrested for DUI regardless of his BAC.
College students who may be venturing into alcohol for the first time as legal adults may not know when they have had too much to drink. They may drive to and from parties without feeling dizzy or impaired after engaging in festivities. Those who are not yet old enough may be arrested for DUI.
People under 21 may also face consequences just for being in possession of alcohol. Minors should know the laws surrounding alcohol in Florida and how the consequences can affect them before attempting to purchase, transport, or use alcohol. Getting into trouble with law enforcement for DUI is usually against the code of conduct for institutions of higher learning. While codes of conduct vary, schools usually reserve sanctions for students accused of DUI.
How College Codes of Conduct Treat DUI Offenses
Most college codes of conduct address alcohol-related crimes like DUI. There may be a wide range of penalties for students who violate school and state DUI rules. Some penalties may resemble criminal penalties and may include:
- Mandatory enrollment in an alcohol education program
- Loss of a scholarship
- Loss of a position on a sports team
- Loss of financial aid
- Deferred suspension
These penalties are in addition to criminal penalties issued by the State upon a DUI conviction. Many schools won’t expel a student for a first DUI; however, a first DUI can significantly hurt a student’s reputation.
Protect Your Future with a DUI Lawyer
If you have been charged with DUI as a college student, don’t allow this mistake to get in the way of your education. A qualified DUI lawyer in West Palm Beach can challenge the charges against you to protect your future. If you are a first-time offender, your attorney may have more options for providing a strong defense.
Attorney Brian Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel has defended DUI throughout Palm Beach County for over 30 years. Call 561-622-5575 for a free consultation or complete our contact form.