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Maryland DUI and Students
A DUI charge and possible conviction can jeopardize a student’s academic status, financial aid, post graduate education, and future employment opportunities. Given the sweeping ramifications, you will require the compassion, experience, and legal skills of a Maryland DUI lawyer who has defended students against DUIs in both the criminal courts and in dealing with administrative hearings at various colleges and universities.
Over the last few years, DUI charges levied against students have become a hot topic of conversation among various organizations such as Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), as well as university and college administrators.
The results of a 2010 study published in U.S. News & World Report revealed 20 percent of college students confessed to driving while impaired (DWI). Like many young people in Maryland, college students may imbibe alcohol without fully understanding their limits. Thus, many students find themselves caught up in unsavory situations and make poor choices as a result of their diminished faculties.
As the study reveals, those activities may include underage driving under the influence (DUI). Students arrested and charged with DUI may experience anxiety and stress in their personal and academic lives. The stakes are high, and it can be particularly unsettling if the student has never encountered the criminal justice system before, and is far away from their much-needed support system.
Maryland DUI Laws and College Students
Many students attending college are under the age of 21; therefore, they cannot legally consume alcohol in any form or amount in Maryland. Consequently, when a student under the age of 21 has a single drink and goes behind the wheel of a vehicle, it can lead to a DUI charge.
In Maryland, drivers under the age of 21 whose blood alcohol content (BAC) measures .02 or higher can be prosecuted under the state’s zero-tolerance laws. Your conviction will be a matter of public record, which can be viewed by law enforcement agencies, court systems, educational institutions, and current and potential employers.
College students who are charged with felony DUI, meaning they were involved in a traffic accident that resulted in injury, major property damage and/or death, could lose their eligibility for federal financial aid loan programs and potentially face prison time and massive court fees and fines.
Civil and Criminal Consequences of Student DUIs
The collateral consequences associated with a DUI conviction as a college student underscore the importance of hiring a DUI lawyer who can prepare an aggressive defense strategy and if necessary, understands the nuances involved in negotiating with prosecutors.
Even for first-time offenders, the criminal penalties for a Maryland DUI can be extremely harsh. These penalties may include:
- Jail time
- License suspension
- Electronic monitoring
- Driving school, alcohol education, and treatment programs
- Court costs and fines
- Increase insurance premiums or non-insurability
Although the consequences can be serious, you should not assume that because you are accused of registering more than .08 percent (.02 percent if you are under age 21) in a blood or breath test, you will be found guilty.
Depending on the circumstance surrounding the case, an experienced DUI lawyer has a number of legitimate defenses to fight the charges and will work aggressively to try to get your charges dismissed or reduced. Even if the case is not dropped, your attorney can negotiate with prosecutors to minimize any penalties you may face if convicted.
College Disciplinary Hearings
An on-campus DUI arrest can virtually guarantee that you will be subject to a disciplinary hearing at your school. A hearing will determine the future of your academic career. Even if your DUI attorney can get the criminal charges completely dismissed, your college or university may still decide to conduct its own investigation into allegations of alcohol use. Most colleges and universities do not require the same level of evidence required in criminal DUI proceedings, emphasizing the need for strong legal representation.
Some of the penalties you may face from a college disciplinary board include:
- Suspension or expulsion from school
- Academic probation
- Eviction from student housing
- Termination of grants and scholarships
- Extensive fines and fees
- Mandatory counseling
It is important for you to respond to DUI charges aggressively. Call our office today to schedule an initial consultation. It is free of cost and will provide you with valuable information needed to understand your legal rights and potential defenses.
The consequences of a DUI conviction during college can haunt you and your family for years to come. Schedule your no-cost consultation today by calling (301) 761-4842.