Whether drinking is an active part of a student’s social life or they only go out occasionally with friends, alcohol is a part of many students’ lives. However, if students drink and drive, this mistake can impact on their college experience and their life in the future. If you or your loved one are in college and faced with drunk driving charges, you need to be aware of the long-lasting effect that these charges can have.

OWI charges have a long-term impact.

If you or your child are convicted of operating while intoxicated (OWI) charges while attending college, the penalties imposed by the court could provide unique challenges. Jail time, license revocation and required sobriety programs can make it difficult for students to manage their academic schedules, and fines can be a burden for students on an already tight budget.

Students will also have a criminal record moving forward, and this can make future job searches a challenge. If you are studying for a career that requires a professional license, you will also need to navigate the requirement to report a criminal conviction. This can have a long-term impact on their ability to pursue a career after graduation.

You could face even more penalties from their student code.

The legal impact of an OWI charge is only the beginning for some college students. You may also face punishment under their student code of conduct. For example, students at the University of Wisconsin face additional penalties for nonacademic misconduct. Depending on the student’s situation, this can include:

  • A written warning or reprimand
  • The loss of some privileges from the university, including limiting participation in student activities and loss of campus housing
  • Community service
  • Requirements put in place in order to continue as a student
  • Suspension, which is a required disclosure in applications to law school or graduate schools
  • Expulsion

These disciplinary actions can also impact eligibility for financial aid and scholarships. If you are already struggling to afford college, the loss of this support can result in time away from education or the need to drop out entirely.

What should you do after an OWI charge?

If you or your child are charged with drunk driving should speak to an attorney. A lawyer can help you explore their options and minimize the damage that these charges do to your studies and to your career in the future.