Start Of College May Mean DWI Charges For Some

The start of college is an exciting time for many, and may lead to drinking both on and off campus. This may result in drinking and driving charges.

Fall is finally here and millions of college students across the country will be returning to their universities or starting out a brand-new semester at college for the first time. This is an exciting time of year for many college students in Texas, especially those who are fresh out of high school. University life provides opportunities for socializing as well as learning, and many of these activities include drinking.

When young people drink responsibly, there is nothing wrong with enjoying alcohol with friends. However, it is common for those of college age to drink more than what could be considered safe or responsible. Many of those who drink in college are underage, and some may drink and drive. Not surprisingly, this can lead to a serious DWI charge. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, it is not uncommon for underage students to adjust to the sudden changes of university life by drinking heavily. Additionally, about 3,360,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 nationwide may drive while under the influence of alcohol.

Common reasons to drink in college

What are some of the reasons college students may drink a great deal during the school year? Coping with the pressures of classes and exams may be one reason. There are also numerous social reasons for college drinking, states the Prevention Resource Center. These may include:

  • Parties at fraternity and sorority houses or residence halls
  • Gatherings at off-campus university housing areas
  • Athletic events
  • Weekend or after-class drinking at nearby bars

It is often said that peer pressure contributes to underage drinking with teenagers. This may continue to be a significant reason for drinking among those under age 21.

Drunk driving penalties in Texas

There are serious penalties for those convicted of drinking and driving in Texas, even for first-time offenders. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, a first-time DWI conviction in Texas may include a fine of $2,000, up to 180 days in jail and a driver's license suspension of one year. After this time, it will cost $1,000 to $2,000 every year for three years to retain a driver's license. The penalties are significantly higher for subsequent convictions and include the order to install an ignition interlock device for more than one drunk driving conviction in five years.

If you are faced with a drunk driving charge while in college, you may suffer from long-term consequences that go beyond fines and jail time, including difficulty finishing your education or getting a job. After a DWI charge, it is important to contact an experienced drunk driving defense attorney right away.