You suffered four years in high-school. It took you 4,520 hours. You finally graduated. You made it to Oregon State University (OSU). How do you destroy all that hard work in only a few hours? You chose to drive after a game of beer pong.
College DUI Statistics
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse (NIAA), approximately 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries– including motor-vehicle crashes– every year. Studies have shown that the combination of freedom from parental oversight, fraternity/sorority membership, and culture of binge drinking are all contributing factors for a disproportionate share of DUI fatalities by college-age drivers.
How a College DUI May Affect You
Assume that you ignore all the advice, and choose to drink to the point of intoxication and impairment, and then drive. What are the possible consequences?
- Arrest and confinement in jail. Aside from being uncomfortable and embarrassing, your release can be delayed and cause you to miss classes or other events.
- Impoundment of your vehicle. The towing and impound fees are usually several hundred dollars.
- Court costs. The fees vary depending on what you’re charged with and your history, but the typically DUI fine starts at $1,000, and only goes up from there. When you include the expenses related to a DUI arrest, you’re typically over $3,000.
- Suspension or expulsion from school. Depending on where the DUI occurred and the school’s interpretation of its code of conduct, you could be placed on administrative probation or even expelled from the college.
- Loss of memberships in organization, or loss of licenses. Some clubs, organizations, and agencies require participants to be free from arrests or criminal charges.
- Loss of driving privileges. Typically, a first DUI offense results in a 90-day driver’s license suspension, but it could be one-year if you refuse the breath test. Hardship permits are typically available to drive to and from work, but not college classes.
- A complete prohibition on drinking or using marijuana for one year. A violation of this provision could cause additional jail, fines, community work service, and/or electronic monitoring.
What to Do If You’re Charged with a DUI While Enrolled in College
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being arrested and charged with a DUI, here are some suggestions:
- Invoke your right to remain silent. Politely tell the campus security or police that you are going to remain silent and that you want to speak with an attorney at the earliest opportunity. As odd as it may sound, simply being silent isn’t enough. You need to unambiguously say– out loud– that you are invoking your right to remain silent, and that you want to speak with an attorney or lawyer.
- Tell your friends and families only enough for support. It’s expected and quite natural to reach out to your friends and family for moral support, emotional support, and even financial support, but you want to limit the amount of information you share. This is because you only have confidentiality and privilege to your communications with an attorney.
- Contact an attorney. It’s important to contact a DUI attorney right away because many of the decisions in a criminal DUI case need to be made quickly. The overwhelming majority of DUI attorneys in Oregon do not charge for a consultation. You can speak candidly and freely with an attorney, without judgment, and get solid advice on how to proceed.
Final Thoughts on Avoiding a College DUI
Nearly every generation claims that the upcoming generation never had it has hard as the previous generations. Or– conversely– the upcoming generation have it so easy. In the case of transportation, that’s actually quite true.
With the low-cost of taxi services, Uber, Lyft, and with mass transit now well-established in most college towns, there’s simply no reason to drink and drive. From a cynical perspective, you can party harder today than ever before by leaving your car at home and taking other forms of transportation.