The college experience comes with more than just a classroom education. College is an opportunity to find out more about who you are. This includes meeting people from different backgrounds and taking advantage of various opportunities to socialize. Many of these social opportunities include the presence of alcohol. Whether enjoying a few or abstaining, it is possible that police will choose to stop your vehicle after attending one of these events, and the stop may result in allegations of drunk driving.
These allegations are serious. It is important to understand the potential impact before making any decisions about how to handle the charges.
What are the criminal penalties for a DUI?
A conviction for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Florida can come with serious penalties. Depending on the details of the allegations, these can include financial penalties and even potential imprisonment. The penalties increase in severity depending on various factors, such as:
- Age. Increased penalties will likely apply if under the age of 21 at the time of the DUI.
- Accident. The state will also consider an increase if the DUI results in an accident that causes damages or injury.
- History. The state will also take the presence of a prior offense into consideration.
These are just a few factors that can impact the penalties — but it is important to keep in mind that criminal penalties are only part of the negative impact that comes with a DUI.
How else can a DUI impact my future?
Those who are going to college can also face ramifications from their school. Many colleges and universities have policies that take a DUI into account both at admission and when reviewing student status. The University of Tampa, for example, states it expects students to conduct themselves as “responsible citizens.” The university reserves the right to discipline any who violate their Student Code of Conduct and states violations of federal, state, and local laws as well as city ordinances qualify.
A DUI conviction can also impact job prospects. An employer may withdraw a job offer after they discover the presence of a prior DUI conviction, and it can make it difficult to get a medical, nursing, law, or other professional license.
What should I do if I am charged with a DUI?
It is tempting to accept a plea deal in the hopes that all the stress that accompanies a DUI will all go away. It is important to know that this is not the case. It is wise to carefully consider any deal and know that you have rights and other options. An attorney experienced in this area of the law can review the situation and discuss the impact of such a deal, as well as alternatives, to better ensure your rights are protected.