Getting a DUI As A College Student

young man looking concerned at cop lights behind him at night

Getting a DUI at any age is never ideal, but it is especially difficult when you are under the legal drinking age. Not only are college students subject to zero-tolerance laws and criminal penalties, but also additional educational consequences. Let’s go over what every college student should keep in mind before they choose to drive after having a drink or two.

Underage DUI Statistics

It’s no secret that college campuses are home to frequent underage drinking. Unfortunately, young adults are also more likely to take risks and downplay consequences. This means that underage drinking often leads to underage DUI.

  • Approximately 30% of college students admit to driving under the influence of alcohol
  • Over 50% of college students report getting into a car with an intoxicated driver
  • Almost 40% of college students believe they are OK to drive after 3 or 4 drinks
  • College-aged drivers are involved in nearly 20% of all drunk driving accidents

Zero-Tolerance Laws

Drivers under 21 years of age must know about zero-tolerance laws. The law states that if a minor has any detectable amount of alcohol in their system when operating a vehicle, they can be charged with an underage DUI. When this occurs, the minor will have their driver’s license suspended for at least three months, but up to one year if they have a prior record of underage DUI.

If the minor participates in a breathalyzer test and has a BAC over .08%, they may face standard DUI charges.
Penalties include:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • A $2,500 fine
  • License suspension

College Student DUI Consequences

Being convicted of a DUI as a college student can cause additional consequences beyond criminal penalties or license suspension.

Mental Health

After getting a DUI as a college student, you may feel:

  • Depressed
  • Embarrassed
  • Angry
  • Anxious
  • Guilty

All of these emotions can make it difficult to move past your mistake. If you have recently been charged with DUI and find it hard to go through day-to-day life without feeling bogged down by these negative feelings, we encourage you to seek counseling and take care of your mental health. Remember that everyone makes mistakes, and you are not alone.

Academic Success

After a DUI arrest, students may struggle to keep up academically. This may be because the stress of their arrest has them unmotivated to complete necessary school work or because other obligations related to the arrest, like court dates, are keeping them out of class.


Student-athletes arrested for DUI may be removed from their sports team.

Financial Aid

Students convicted of underage or standard DUI are at risk of losing their scholarships and financial aid. This can have huge financial consequences on the student and their family.

School Sanctions

Colleges and universities have codes of conduct specifically detailing rules students are required to follow in order to remain enrolled at the school. If the school has rules prohibiting arrests or DUI specifically, the student is at risk of being suspended or expelled from campus.

Limited Career Opportunities

With a DUI on your record, you may be unable to work in certain career fields or be granted professional licenses.
These obstacles may prevent you from being a:

  • Teacher
  • Physician
  • Pilot
  • Driver
  • Real estate agent/broker
  • Accountant
  • Police officer

What To Do After Being Arrested

If you are a college student who has recently been arrested for underage or standard DUI, you need to take action immediately. Our team at The Toney Law Firm, LLC can work with you to get you the best possible outcome. We want to help you protect your future; this one mistake should not prevent you from achieving your dreams.

Call us at (888) 473-4058 to discuss your case with our Chicago DUI attorneys.