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Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers > Blog > DUI > What Are the Consequences of a DUI as a Georgia College Student?

What Are the Consequences of a DUI as a Georgia College Student?


For many young adults, a DUI arrest will be their first time interacting with Georgia’s criminal justice system as a defendant. Given that most college undergraduates are under the legal drinking age of 21, they not only face a stricter legal standard for DUI, but an arrest or conviction can have significant non-criminal consequences for their education as well. Indeed, a college student may find themselves expelled from school.

Georgia’s Under-21 DUI Laws

Let’s start with the criminal consequences. For adults of legal drinking age (21 or over), a person is considered driving under the influence of alcohol if they have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. But for drivers under the age of 21, the BAC threshold for DUI is just 0.02 percent. Practically speaking, this means that a college student who has just one beer will likely be considered too intoxicated to legally drive in Georgia.

In terms of criminal penalties, a first offense for under-21 DUI carries a fine of between $300 and $1,000, 1 day to 12 months in jail, and a mandatory number of hours of community service. The offender must also serve at least 12 months probation, less any jail time served. The Georgia Department of Driver Services will also suspend an under-21 DUI offender’s license for at least 6 months–with no option to obtain a limited driving permit.

College Disciplinary Action

Beyond any criminal penalties, any person charged with DUI while attending college may also face separate disciplinary action from their school. For example, the University of Georgia’s Code of Conduct for students considers “any violation involving the operation of a motor vehicle after consumption of alcohol and/or [the] use of drugs” to be a serious infraction. Even an off-campus DUI arrest may lead to university disciplinary action even if the student is never convicted of a criminal offense. Indeed, UGA’s Code states that if a student commits a DUI while already on probation with the university for a previous alcohol or drug violation, the sanction is suspension from school.

It is also worth noting that a criminal record from a DUI arrest or conviction can affect other educational opportunities outside of university enrollment. For example, if a student is looking to participate in a work-study or internship program, an employer is likely to perform a criminal background check. That DUI record may be sufficient grounds for deciding to give that educational opportunity to someone else.

Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers Today

A drunk driving arrest should not be viewed as a “rite of passage” for college students. To the contrary, a drunk driving charge can derail your college education if not taken seriously. So if you have been charged and need legal advice and representation from a Board-certified Georgia DUI lawyer, contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Georgia including Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Johns Creek and Sandy Springs.



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