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College attendance may mean drunk driving charges for some

Heavy drinking is, for many, a normal part of college life. This can result in criminal charges if drinking and driving is involved.

With summer vacation officially over, students around the country are returning to school, including college students in California. This is a life-changing time for people attending universities, especially students who are new to college life. One of the perks of transitioning into adulthood for many students is drinking with friends during the college years.

Most people would consider university drinking to be a normal part of this phase in life. There's nothing wrong with enjoying drinks with new friends and celebrating college milestones. However, there is always the potential for alcohol abuse anytime that heavy drinking is encouraged. Many college students who drink face educational and legal consequences, especially if they drink underage or drink and drive. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that approximately 3,360,000 students between 18 and 24 years old get behind the wheel after drinking.

Heavy drinking often influenced by student culture

A large part of drinking in college pertains to student culture or peer pressure. Students may also begin drinking heavily to cope with the pressures of performing well in classes. A few different campus events and activities are seen as good reasons to drink, states the Prevention Resource Center, including frat parties, sporting events and private drinking in dorm rooms. Students may also take their drinking to bars near campus, increasing the chances they may drink and drive, and thereby face intoxication charges.

California drinking and driving penalties

It is not unusual even for young people who usually make responsible choices to make a mistake after having a few drinks. Unfortunately, all it takes is one mistake to result in charges that may affect a student for many years. The consequences for drinking and driving are tough in California. According to the Legislative Counsel of the State of California, DUI penalties may include fines, court fees and driver's license revocation. Those under the age of 21 are subject to the following penalties:

  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • Vehicle impoundment for up to 30 days
  • Up to six months in jail

There are additional costs that young people might not consider, but which nonetheless can create a lasting impact. These might include the additional discipline that university authorities could administer, the worst of which could be expulsion from the school. Legal and criminal consequences are even worse for those who had previous drunk driving convictions.

It is important to contact an experienced drunk driving defense attorney if you are facing charges. An attorney may be able to protect your rights and your reputation.

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