What Should a College Student Do After Receiving a DUI Charge?

March 29, 2021

If a college student is charged for driving under the influence (DUI), it is important for parents to remember to not panic or get upset with their child. Once they are released from jail, the parents should speak with the child and gather information about the arrest. A college student charged with a DUI should try to remember the following:

  • The amount they had to drink.
  • The conversation they had with the police officer.
  • If they had participated in a field sobriety test.
  • The results of the field sobriety test.
  • If they were provided any information upon their release.

Additionally, a college student should contact a DUI defense lawyer to determine how to move forward.

What are the Penalties of a DUI Charge in Pennsylvania?

The penalties for a DUI violation in Pennsylvania vary and depend on the number of offenses and the blood alcohol content (BAC) level in the body at the time of the arrest.

DUI penalties for a first offense include:

  • BAC between 0.08 percent and 0.099 percent: Minimum fine of $300 and six months of probation.
  • BAC between 0.10 percent and 0.159 percent: The fines range from $500 to $5,000, there is a mandatory incarceration period of two days to six months, and a suspension of the driver’s license for 12 months.
  • BAC higher than 0.16 percent: Fines between $1,000 and $5,000, potential incarceration from three days to six months, and a 12-month license suspension.

If a person is arrested for a DUI in less than 10 years from their first violation, it will be considered a second offense. The penalties for a second DUI offense include:

  • BAC between 0.08 percent to 0.099 percent: There are fines between $300 and $2,500, a mandatory incarceration of five days and six months, and a 12-month license suspension.
  • BAC between 0.10 percent to 0.159 percent: This carries a 12-month license suspension, a fine range of $750 and $5,000, and at least 30 days to six months of incarceration.
  • BAC of 0.16 percent and higher: There are fines of $1,500 and $10,000, along with a mandatory incarceration period between 90 days and five years, and the license suspension increases to 18 months.

Along with fines and jail time, DUI penalties also include required community service, alcohol safety school, and the possibility of installing an ignition interlock device on the person’s vehicle.

Parents and students should also understand that Pennsylvania has an implied consent law, which means that a driver is required to take a chemical test if a police officer suspects a person is driving under the influence. Should a person refuse to take the test, it is an automatic one-year license suspension for the first offense, and it goes up to 18 months for repeat offenses.

Can my Child Get in Trouble at School for a DUI Arrest?

College students can face enhanced penalties along with discipline from the college or university that they are attending. If the DUI arrest violates a school’s student conduct policy, than the person could face disciplinary problems, including a fine, suspension, or expulsion.

The state penalties could also be more enhanced for students because Pennsylvania has drug-free school zone laws. These laws cover incidents that take place on school grounds but could also extend beyond to include the actions of the students. These could equate to must harsher penalties and higher fines.

Can My Child Avoid DUI Penalties?

For first-time offenders, there are opportunities to avoid going through the criminal justice system. A person can participate in a program and can have the charges expunged from their record. However, should they be arrested a second time, they will lose the probation protection and face penalties. For help with a DUI charge, a college student should speak to a lawyer.

West Chester DUI Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes Help College Students Facing DUI Charges

If you are a college student with a DUI charge, a West Chester DUI defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes can help you. You may have options to lessen the charge, and we can determine the best course of action. Call us at 610-431-7900 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.

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