Columbia College, University of South Carolina, Benedict College, Southern University, and W.L. Bonner College are home to thousands of students who come to Columbia, South Carolina each year to get a college education. Many of these students not only enjoy the academic opportunities these colleges provide, but also enjoy the social aspects of college as well. The college social scene can include fraternity parties, bars, and simply going out and drinking with friends.
Alcohol is a way of life for college students, and is an integral part of the college experience for many students. In fact, according to Villanova, 80 percent of students attending college drink alcohol. Of those who drink, around 30 percent say they may have four or more drinks in a typical sitting.
Because students typically do not turn 21 until their junior or senior years in college, this means a substantial number of college students are drinking who they are under the age of 21. For these students, there is a substantially increased risk of getting into legal trouble for driving under the influence of alcohol. Any student, however, can face serious consequences if arrested for impaired driving.
For students who are under 21, even having a single drink with friends can lead to legal problems as a result of zero tolerance laws. You could face DUI accusations, the possible loss of a driver's license, a record, and other penalties if you are charged with drunk driving even with a blood alcohol concentration below the .08 percent limit applicable to adults over 21. The more you drink, the more serious the consequences can be.
Students both over and under 21 can have their college careers affected if they are arrested for drunk driving with a BAC of .08 or higher. A BAC at this level creates a presumption of impairment and it can be harder to try to defend against drunk driving charges. If you are arrested and a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test shows you had a BAC above the legal limit, you will need to be smart and strategic about trying to avoid the serious consequences of conviction.
The legal trouble a college student can face for drunk driving is serious and can affect your academic performance, as well as your finances. For college students who have limited incomes, affording the costs of fines and court fees can be difficult. A loss of a license and restrictions on drinking after a drunk driving conviction can affect your college social life. Time spent incarcerated or doing community service can make it harder to be an academic success or to participate in clubs or other activities. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems which can follow a DUI. You should do everything possible to try to avoid these consequences, including getting legal help right away following even a first DUI arrest.