Parents are often fully aware of the risks underage drinking involves. Tennessee has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking, and most parents follow suit in establishing such policies in their own home.
However, when children head off to college, they face a brand-new world and situation – often without parental guidance. 54.9% of college students report drinking alcohol each month, with many of those including the students who are still underage.
This high rate of underage drinking could lead to a high risk of an underage DUI. And while attending college, students could face even more penalties.
College student DUIs decreasing, but still a risk
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation recently published the Crime on Campus report of 2019. Overall, the report found that the crime rate on campuses across Tennessee increased, with underage drinking and alcohol-related offenses increasing significantly, going from 28 offenses to 70 offenses in just one year.
The rate of underage DUIs for college students did decrease, but the increase in underage drinking does still mean that a DUI is a risk for this age group.
A DUI can have more penalties than just a criminal record
Tennessee is strict regarding underage DUIs, and the criminal penalties can be severe. However, college students might face additional consequences impacting their futures, such as:
- Losing scholarships;
- Losing placements on sports teams;
- A record on their academic file;
- Academic probation, suspension or even expulsion; and
- Losing financial aid.
Many colleges and universities may also require college students facing DUI charges to attend an alcohol education program. This is because many higher education systems have honor codes that require students to comply with a code of conduct. Most of these codes state that underage drinking or driving drunk is a violation.
The first offense will likely not lead to such severe penalties as those listed above, but it is critical to be aware of these risks that could come with the criminal charges of an underage DUI.
The penalties that college students could face in their academic life may not compare to the criminal penalties, but they can still have a significant negative impact on their academic career and their future, in turn. That is why if college students face DUI charges, it is important to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.