Many schools and universities take alcohol-related charges very seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to these types of charges. Therefore, the impact that a DUI has on a college student can be quite serious. Not only does the criminal court system threaten consequences for DUIs and underage drinking, but a college or university will generally threaten some penalty as well. Not only does a person arrested for a DUI need to appear in court and often a DUI hearing, but they may also be required to attend a disciplinary hearing held by their school’s officials.
Colleges and universities are generally notified by the local police department if one of their students is arrested or involved in an alcohol or drug-related incident with the police. Even so much as giving your driver’s license to a police officer could result in the school finding out and requesting a meeting with the disciplinary board of the school.
The ability for colleges and universities to take disciplinary action against their students generally comes from the Code of Conduct that is included in every school’s manual and lays out the rules and regulations of the school. There is generally an office of student conduct at each college that oversees student’s violations and behavior that could warrant disciplinary action.
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The code of conduct is different depending on each school. When the school is notified by a law enforcement agency of one of their students being involved in the law, such as being arrested for a DUI, the school will likely reach out to the student by mail, email, or phone call and instigate some form of contact with the student and the office of student affairs.
At a school disciplinary hearing, there is generally a board that will sit before the hearing and hears the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident in question. Students can have an attorney with them through this process.
At these administrative hearings, there is usually a standard of proof, such as the preponderance of the evidence, used to determine whether the student did, in fact, violate the code of conduct. Preponderance of the evidence means that the violation more likely than not did occur and was committed by that student. The student is permitted to submit witness testimony and documents that support their defense prior to the hearing and present these during the hearing.
The consequences of a finding of guilty by the school board is very uncertain because the penalties vary depending on the school, the circumstances surrounding the violation, and that school’s code of conduct. However, drug and alcohol-related violations are taken very seriously. If a DUI occurs on campus, the consequences could be more severe than if the DUI took place off-campus. This is generally because the school has a strong desire to keep the campus safe and its students safe, and drinking and driving on the campus where students are walking is a safety risk.
The consequences of a DUI, especially an underage DUI, could result in a suspension, expulsion, and/or a permanent mark on that student’s educational record so that future institutions and employers would be aware. However, there is a chance that the school could also forgo penalizing the student and allow the court system to handle a student’s DUI arrest. The consequences greatly depend on each individual school.
If you are a college or university student and have found yourself wrapped up with legal issues such as a DUI arrest, you could be at risk of losing your place at your school in addition to facing legal consequences. As every college student knows, it can be devastating to think about the time, money, and reputational damages of being disciplined by their college. If you have been arrested for a DUI and are a student, you will need an attorney to advise you on your rights and options for fighting the charges and the violations with the school board. Contact Lady DUI today to consult with an attorney.