Although colleges and universities pour money into programs that strive to eliminate underage drinking and educate students on the risks of alcohol consumption, drinking continues to be a rite of passage on college campuses across the United States. Students should be aware of the potential consequences that await them when they choose to drink on campus. Below, San Jose DUI attorney Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich explains three types of consequences faced by underage drinkers on college campuses.
How California Handles Underage Drinking Charges
California has a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking. This means that if you are caught driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in your body, you can face serious charges. The policy drops the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit to 0.01%.
An “under 21” DUI conviction, depending on the circumstances surrounding your conviction, may result in:
- License suspension
- Community service
- Alcohol education program
- Jail time
For many students, the consequences they face from school are even more serious than the legal effects of underage drinking. Each college or university sets its own policies about underage drinking. However, most have a strict no-tolerance policy. This may lead to disciplinary actions that affect a student’s standing. Your school’s regulations should be readily available to you either online or at the admissions office. A few common restrictions may include:
- Denial of admission to the university due to reckless behavior
- Failure to report the DUI may result in suspension
- Multiple DUI may result in permanent or temporary suspension
- Loss of financial aid
- Denial to specialized educational programs
Certain academic programs have very strict rules about student behavior. Students who violate campus policies could be kicked out of their academic program or forced to undergo treatment or educational programs before resuming classes. Students in teaching, social work, or other fields that put them in contact with at-risk populations could be expelled from their programs if they repeatedly violate school rules.
In addition, under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), educational institutions may notify parents if an underage student receives a disciplinary violation for drinking. Many schools exercise that option in an effort to curb unsafe behavior.
How Underage Drinking Can Impact a Student’s Finances and Career Options
The effects of underage drinking can impact students in several other areas of their life. Students who rely on student loans to fund their education may be unable to secure federal loans if they are not in good standing at their institution. This could lead them to take out high-interest loans or require them to drop out completely.
The stakes are often even higher for those attending college on scholarships. The majority of scholarship programs expect students to act in a way that appropriately represents the school and the scholarship source. Disciplinary action for underage drinking could disqualify students from lucrative grants and scholarships.
Networking and career options may also be limited after disciplinary action has been taken. Many student organizations and academic associations prohibit students in poor standing from joining or participating.
Let Us Help You With Your Underage Drinking Charge
Are you facing an underage drinking charge, or an “under 21” DUI in San Jose or the surrounding areas? You have the opportunity to fight the charges against you. If you are a student under the age of 21, the state of California has significantly harsher penalties for you rather than someone of legal drinking age. It is important to put a stop to the process as soon as possible. Reach out to us at the Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich to plan your next step. Contact us online or call us at (408) 898-9653 to get started.