Sending your child off to college is a milestone moment that comes with many hopes as well as some fears. You trust that you have given your child the best possible guidance to live a responsible and independent life, and yet your child is still in the beginning stages of adulthood and may not always make the wisest decisions.
College brings with it a lot of new responsibility as well as an unprecedented level of freedom, and this can sometimes lead to mistakes that can have shattering long-term consequences. One of the most common pitfalls that college students can run into in terms of violating the law is that of underage drinking and driving while under the influence.
Possible penalties in a DUI conviction
If the police arrest and charge your college student with driving under the influence, you must not underestimate the potential consequences of this charge. There are several factors that come into play in DUI charges and varying levels of potential penalties depending on its severity. In Virginia, for example, although a first-time DUI offense is a misdemeanor and not a felony, it can still bring a possibility of up to six months in jail. With high blood alcohol levels such as .15 percent or higher, there is a minimum requirement of two days in jail. Additionally, a conviction can bring a driver's license suspension, fines, and ignition interlock. Additional penalties and complications can arise when your child is under the legal drinking age, which is common in college-age arrests.
Risks for college career after a DUI
A criminal record can put your child's college career in jeopardy. As your child is in college and therefore over the age of 18, he or she will be subject to the adult criminal justice system, not the juvenile justice system. In many cases, the authorities will report the DUI to your child's college, and this may trigger disciplinary action on the part of the school. Your child may even risk expulsion, which seriously puts his or her future career choices at risk. Federal funding could stop. A DUI creates a criminal record, which can hamper future employment. The risks are numerous and serious, so you may wish to investigate and fight back against the charges, especially if there was police misconduct or your child is facing an unlawful charge.