How a DUI Can Affect Academic Opportunities

Many young adults work hard throughout their academic career to get into a school with a strong program in their chosen field of study, often with the hopes of securing a job in their desired profession. However, these dreams can be quickly swept aside with a single DUI conviction. Many universities look very harshly on serious criminal violations among their students, potentially resulting in the loss of academic opportunities or the outright expulsion from the school. The consequences of a drunk driving conviction can be devastating for a student with high aspirations.

Loss of Academic Standing in a University

For many students, there are certain expectations established by the university and by the department that student studies under. If either of these institutions has stringent rules about criminal violations, a student may be punished accordingly. For particularly specialized or competitive departments, such as those used to propel students into law school or medical school, a DUI conviction may result in the student’s expulsion from the department. In these situations, the university may not necessarily expel the student, but they may lose their desired opportunities in their department.

Loss of Scholarships

Scholarships are crucial for many students to afford the high costs of tuition, university fees, room and board, food, and materials. However, students convicted of DUI charges may lose their opportunity to compete for many scholarships, which are often based off a student’s academic and personal merits. A drunk driving conviction may speak poorly for a student’s personal character, making them a much less likely candidate to receive a scholarship.

Similarly, students already granted scholarships for a semester or more may lose their funding if their scholarship providers find out about a DUI conviction. Losing a scholarship may prove financially catastrophic, and may result in the student being forced to leave the school due to the excessive costs involved.

Loss of Admissions Opportunities

For prospective students, a drunk driving conviction may ruin their chances of getting into a particular university. Many universities hold high ethical standards for their student body, and have competitive enough admissions standards to reject candidates with previous criminal records.

How Can a Defendant Protect Their Academic Future?

If a student or prospective student is facing a drunk driving charge, they may want to closely consider the range of criminal defense options available to them. With the help of an experienced DUI attorney, a defendant may be able to fight these charges and protect their good name.

On the other hand, a defendant may also be able to work towards securing a favorable plea bargain and the reduction of their criminal allegations. While a drunk driving conviction may be extremely damaging for a student’s prospects, a reduced charge of reckless driving may not be quite as poorly received by an educational institution. A DUI lawyer may be able to help a defendant work through the process of fighting for a fair and favorable plea bargain from a determined criminal prosecution.

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Supreme Danger

The Supreme Court of the United States has recently taken up a case from Missouri which has the possibility to significantly reduce privacy rights of motorists in the United States. The case involves a man from Missouri who was stopped by a police officer late one night on suspicion of driving drunk. While he was placed under arrest, he refused to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test, citing his constitutional right to refuse a search without a warrant. The officer nevertheless pressed onward with a blood test, forced on the individual without his consent or the legal authority to do so, because, according to the officer, it would have been to difficult to obtain a warrant at that time.

The issue which the Supreme Court must now decide is whether or not such an action on the part of the officer is allowable under the protections afforded by the Bill of Rights. There is precedent for officers in such situations being given permission to proceed with blood tests without a warrant, but to this point, that has been limited to very particular circumstances, whereas this case leaves open the possibility that any police officer who has probable cause to assume an individual is driving while drunk and does not believe that they can get the necessary warrant in time may force the individual to submit to a test without their consent. Such an expansion of police powers would be a considerable blow to individual liberties, considering the broad latitude which the standard of “probable cause” provides to law enforcement officials. Those who have been subject to chemical testing in these types of conditions should pursue the assistance of a DUI attorney to receive appropriate representation against overzealous law enforcement.

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Signs of Drunk Driving

Police officers across the country have been specially trained to notice certain warning signs in identifying drunk drivers. According to research conducted regarding how alcohol intoxication affects driving behaviors, there are a specific list of activities which are strong indicators that a driver may be driving under the influence. Therefore, the Department of Transportation has identified certain warning signs that police officers must understand for recognizing drunk drivers.

The most commonly cited warning sign that a driver may be operating their vehicle under the influence of alcohol is making overly wide turns. Other issues include weaving between lanes or lane drift, driving well below the speed limit, stopping abruptly, coming close to hitting other objects, and straddling lanes. These behaviors may well indicate that a driver is intoxicated, but unfortunately, they can also be used to punish innocent drivers who were simply tired or distracted. A DUI lawyer can help make this case for those who have been charged with DUI or DWI.

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Implied Consent

When an driver is stopped by a police officer under suspicion of drunk driving, they are often asked to submit to a breathalyzer test to show whether or not they are breathalyzerlegally intoxicated. In most cases, the driver will have the option to refuse to submit to this test. However, this does not come without its own consequences. In fact, refusal to submit to a breathalyzer is against the law in most states, under what are known as implied consent laws.

Implied consent laws hold that, merely by operating a vehicle on a public roadway, the driver has given their consent to be administered a breathalyzer test if suspected by a police officer of driving under the influence. Therefore, refusing a breathalyzer test will automatically result in license suspension and possibly even a short stay in jail. In addition, most police officers can get a warrant in a short amount of time to conduct a breathalyzer test against the individual’s wishes. If you believe that you have been wrongly accused of a DUI or DWI, you should contact a DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.

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