An arrest for DWI or DUI probably isn’t on your list of worries if your child is preparing to attend the University of Texas, Texas A&M, or any of the other fine educational institutions across Texas. You likely have all the typical concerns that parents have when sending their children away, such as arranging housing, paying for books, etc. Going off to college is a monumental event, and for many, it is the first time they are away from the structure and support provided by parents. It can be a heady experience to realize you are accountable to nobody but yourself. When college students fail to handle their new responsibility well, parents may need to step in by hiring a lawyer.
Drunk Driving Arrests Can Lead to Positive Change
Some students forget that their actions on or off-campus do have consequences even if Mom or Dad aren’t close enough to ground them. This newfound freedom may encourage your child to push the boundaries and challenge the rules, especially when it comes to alcohol consumption. It is critical to have a solid understanding of the potential ramifications of a drunk driving conviction for a college student. If your student comes to you with a drunk driving problem, then you, with help from a DWI lawyer, can make it an important teachable moment, instead of a catastrophe.
What Is The Difference Between DWI and DUI?
In Texas, DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is a charge that only affects minors. Although DUI is the same offense level as a traffic ticket, it has additional penalties, such as alcohol classes, and is easier for prosecutors to prove because they only need to show that a minor driver had consumed alcohol, not that the driver was actually impaired or intoxicated. DWI applies to any Texas driver, regardless of age, who operated a motor vehicle while intoxicated. This article provides more information on the difference between DUI and DWI in Texas.
DWI / DUI Penalties On and Off-Campus
Most colleges and universities have strict codes of conduct to keep their campuses safe for everyone. This includes close cooperation between campus security and local law enforcement, and the two agencies often work together. If your child is arrested for driving while impaired off-campus, local police will probably notify the university so that the administration can take appropriate disciplinary actions.
Following a conviction for DWI or DUI, your child may receive a sentence that includes a fine, community service, jail, or probation. Your child will also probably have to surrender his or her driver’s license, which may make things difficult if your student has a job or internship off-campus. In addition, he or she may face consequences on campus that often include some of the following:
- Loss of privately offered scholarships
- Suspension from athletic teams
- Forfeiture of campus housing
- Disqualification from academic programs that lead to professional licensures, such as nursing or teaching
- Loss of eligibility for certain government positions
It is understandable that the stress of academics, the mounting educational debt, and the uncertainty of landing a lucrative job combined with the lax boundaries may justify your child’s desire to party with friends, on or off-campus. However, any of the consequences of a DUI can result in a future with far greater stress and uncertainty.
DWI or DUI Are Warning Signs
If your son or daughter is being engaged by law enforcement for alcohol violations, then you may want to investigate further. A single law enforcement contact may be just part of the college experience. However, it may be your first chance to intervene before your student puts themselves in a tougher place. Often, getting college or university students engaged in appropriate counseling reduces the risk of a larger problem while helping avoid criminal penalties for DUI or DWI. Counselors need to be carefully selected for appropriate expertise and experience within the legal system to play that dual role.
Parents Have Enough to Worry About, Let a DWI lawyer Worry About This
You have likely impressed upon your child the importance of acting with prudence and self-control while away from home. You probably also know your child well enough to realize he or she does not always absorb the lessons you try to teach. While you may think it is smart to allow your child to deal with the heavy consequences of a DWI, you certainly do not want those consequences to destroy your child’s future. Hiring a DWI lawyer who will help your student avoid repeating dangerous behavior while minimizing the legal and professional consequences of isolated poor decision making can make a DUI or DWI arrest one of the most important moments of their college career. It also means someone else can worry about those problems, while you focus on everything else parents have to handle.
If you need a DWI defense attorney who can protect your student, on and off-campus, feel free to contact the San Antonio DWI lawyers at Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC by calling (210) 222-9132 to schedule a free consultation.