Many students at colleges and universities in the East Bay are coming back to school this month. Students at UC Berkeley and Cal State East Bay get their fall semester started in August and are returning to studying and hanging out with friends. As more students and their friends turn 21, access to alcohol can become much easier. Unfortunately, many young people also end up getting their first DUI as students.
A drunk driving arrest can be more stressful for college students because they are worried about telling their parents and don't know how it might impact their educational opportunities. For a first-time offense, a strong legal defense strategy can help young drivers avoid more serious penalties.
If you or your child got arrested for driving under the influence in the East Bay, contact an experienced California DUI defense lawyer who can explain your rights and legal options to keep your record clean.
What Are DUI Consequences for College Students?
For college students over the age of 21, they face the same criminal penalties and administrative restrictions as any other driver. Penalties for a 1st-time DUI can include:
- Up to 6 months in county jail, and
- Fine of up to $1000
Most drivers will not spend 6 months in jail for their first DUI arrest but they could face a minimum of 48 hours in jail. Even if the driver is released on probation, they will still be restricted by the court and can be sent back to jail for violating probation.
Not all the penalties of a DUI involve criminal penalties. If you get a DUI, the California DMV will take away your license. When you are arrested, you can get a temporary license that is good for 30 days. If you don't appeal your administrative suspension within 10 days of the arrest, your license will be suspended. You may be able to apply for a critical need license but, your license can be suspended for one year.
To get your license back, you may need to complete additional requirements, which may include:
- Installing an ignition interlock device (IID)
- Community service
- Substance abuse counseling
- DUI school
- Pay all fines and fees
Some colleges and universities may even impose their own penalties. Depending on the school and their code of conduct, a criminal conviction could impact a student's ability to play sports and scholarship opportunities. Drug or alcohol violations on campus could even result in suspension or expulsion.
Why Do Cops Pull Over Young Drivers?
Police and law enforcement in Alameda County and Contra Costa County undergo training to watch for signs of possibly impaired drivers, including watching for impaired college students in areas around college campuses. If the police have any valid reason to stop a vehicle, that may be all it takes to identify possible drug or alcohol impairment.
Young drivers may have less experience behind the wheel. A number of college students in the East Bay come from other states or other countries that may even have different traffic laws and are not used to the driving laws in California. Something as simple as an improper lane change, failing to move over for emergency vehicles, or expired registration may be enough to pull someone over.
Can I Get a Suspended Sentence or Reckless Driving Instead?
An experienced East Bay DUI defense lawyer understands how important it is for a young person to keep a criminal conviction off their record. There may be options to avoid a drunk driving conviction, that will lessen the sting of a DUI arrest.
One option may be to get a plea deal to lower a DUI to a “wet reckless.” A wet reckless has reduced penalties compared to a DUI. Talk to your DUI defense attorney about the best defense options in your case.
East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 39 years of DUI and criminal defense experience and understands the consequences for students arrested for a DUI. Representing college and university students and their families in Contra Costa and Alameda County, Lynn Gorelick is familiar with the local DUI laws, local officers, and the prosecutors involved. Contact East Bay DUI defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.
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