College drinking may result in DUIs

Many college students drink during the semester. Social drinking is common, but may result in a drunk driving arrest.

There are many reasons for people of all ages to drink alcohol during the summer, but there are also just as many reasons to celebrate the beginning of a new school year. For countless college students in Illinois and across the country, starting university is a rite of passage that often includes drinking. In many cases, college drinking is responsibly undertaken by young people over the legal age of 21. However, in just as many other cases, underage students may drink and end up with underage charges for DUI.

It may come as no surprise that college drinking is prevalent in universities throughout the country. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that approximately 3,360,000 million students between the ages of 18 to 24 drink and drive every year. Heavy drinking is especially common during the first six weeks of the fall semester in college.

What are some of the factors contributing to college drinking?

Many university students view drinking activities as a normal part of college life. Others may give in to the pressure to drink more to fit in. According to the Prevention Resource Center, some of the reasons students may drink during the semester include sporting events, fraternity and sorority parties and parties at student residential areas off-campus. During the weekends and after-class hours, it is not uncommon for students to gather at bars near the campus. While there is nothing wrong with having drinks with friends, in many cases these activities result in drunk driving.

Penalties for drunk driving in Illinois

Law enforcement in Illinois takes drinking and driving seriously. According to the Illinois State Police Department, the consequences for a first-time DUI may include the following:

  • Imprisonment for up to one year
  • A fine of $2,500
  • Driver's license revocation for one year
  • Loss of driver's license for two years in an underage DUI

The penalties become more severe for those who are convicted of subsequent DUIs, who had a high blood alcohol content while driving or who injured someone in a crash.

Drunk driving consequences go beyond fees and jail time, however. Students who are facing a DUI may also have to deal with discipline from their college administration, including possible suspension from sports or expulsion from the school. They may also have difficulties finding a job or staying employed if their licenses have been revoked. There is the additional embarrassment and stigma of having a criminal conviction on one's record, which may last for a lifetime.

If you are facing a DUI, you have the right to be treated fairly in court. It is important to contact an experienced drunk driving defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.