You’re at a house party with some friends, legally drinking during your senior year of college. At midnight, finally admitting to yourself that you have a class early the next morning, you decide to drive back to your own apartment. You can still get seven hours of sleep before you have to get up and head to campus.
Just because you’re old enough to legally drink, unlike many at that party, you’re still breaking the law if you drive home while you’re over the legal limit. Getting pulled over could net you far more serious charges than an MIP (minor in possession).
Perhaps the police do pull you over, just a few blocks from your apartment. You blow a 0.10 when they give you the breath test. Along with the legal ramifications, are you now in danger of getting kicked out of college right before you graduate?
Codes of conductYou could be. Most universities have a code of conduct that you technically agree to when you enroll. You may never even have read it, but you agreed to it. If it stipulates that expulsion is warranted, that could be it for your college career.
Granted, this doesn’t happen in all cases. Many colleges will let you plead your case before the board. They may impose other sanctions. They may give you a warning and note that one more DUI will equal an automatic expulsion.
Legal standards of proofBut you must realize just how serious a DUI can be. The college doesn’t even have the same standard of proof as a court. That means you could get expelled even if you are able to shake the criminal charges.
Maybe you argue that the police didn’t have probable cause to pull you over, for instance. Even though the breath test proved you were drunk, they gave you that test illegally. While that could get your criminal charges dropped, the board at college may still say they know you were drunk driving, no matter how police discovered that fact, and expel you for it. Knowing how to present your case is critical.
Even if you’re not expelled, there are plenty of potential ramifications. Do you live in campus housing? They could take it away. Are you on a sports team? You could get kicked off the team, even if you’re allowed to stay in college. You’re probably going to lose your driver’s license. Can you still get to class and work? Are you on scholarship? You could lose your funding as well, depending on who provides it.
College students find themselves in a precarious position after a DUI arrest. It’s critical that they know all of their rights and the legal options they have.