College is an exciting time in young people’s lives. They experience living away from home, making new friends and getting involved on campus. Along with these new experiences, college is also a time when many experiment with alcohol, and when some experiment with recreational drug use.
Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to the poor decision to drive while under the influence or impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. In Colorado, it is illegal to drive when you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. “Under the influence” means that a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, that affects the person to a degree that the person is substantially incapable, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle. A blood or breath test showing a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is per se evidence that a person is under the influence. It is also illegal to drive while your ability is impaired by alcohol and/or drugs to the slightest degree, so that you are less capable than they normally would be of driving safely. A test showing a blood alcohol content of 0.05 to 0.79 can be used as evidence of impaired driving. Additionally, it is illegal for people under the age of 21 to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.02 to 0.49. That is considered Underage Drinking and Driving.
If you are convicted of any of these offenses, you could face serious consequences. That’s particularly true if you are under the age of 21.
If you are convicted of an alcohol or drug related driving offense in Colorado, you may face some or all of the following penalties and requirements:
- A lengthy driver’s license suspension or revocation. If you are under 21, you could lose your driving privilege completely for an entire year.
- Five days to one year in jail
- Alcohol treatment program
- Court costs
- Community service
These are potential penalties for anyone facing a first DUI or DWAI conviction. However, you may also be subject to additional consequences as a college student. These could include:
- Losing financial aid or a private scholarship: It’s possible for your financial aid to be revoked following a criminal conviction, including DUI or DWAI convictions that also involve drug possession charges. A business could also take away your private scholarship depending on their policy.
- Suspension or expulsion: It’s more likely that you would face a suspension than expulsion. However, both could be possibilities considering you likely broke your college’s code of conduct.
- Future challenges getting a job that requires licensure: This includes positions such as a lawyer or nurse.
- Losing your college housing: Some colleges do not allow students with DUI convictions to reside on campus.
- Getting kicked off your sports team: A DUI conviction could lead to suspension or dismissal from your athletic program.
It’s important to note that these penalties depend on your specific college and situation. Your college may consider many factors in making decisions about consequences, including your previous criminal history, if any, and your previous history of conduct code violations, if any.
You worked hard to get into college. If you’re facing a DUI or DWAI charge, you should contact a criminal defense attorney right away to help you get back on track.