Nobody wants their child to drink and drive, but when they make a mistake, you want them to learn from that error with it affecting the rest of their life. If a student is charged with a DWI or DWAI (driving while ability impaired), the conviction could affect their life for many years to come. It’s essential to understand this impact and to know the aspects of a student’s future that might be jeopardized by a conviction.
Automatic DWIs for underage drinkers
For those students who are under the age of 21, any amount of alcohol, regardless of the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC), will count as a DWI. This zero-tolerance policy escalates penalties for underage drinkers and means that any consumption can have dire circumstances for a student. Here are some additional details related to student DWI charges:
- Financial aid concerns: A DWI conviction can result in the loss of eligibility for federal student aid via the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) guidelines if it coincides with drug possession or driving while ability impaired by drug use. The suspension of eligibility could last a year or more.
- School suspension/expulsion: Many colleges and universities also exercise zero-tolerance policies for criminal convictions, drinking underage or drug use/possession.
- Scholarship loss: A sports or academic scholarship is an incredible gift to a talented student.
- Fake identification: The use of false IDs could increase the penalties related to a DWI charge, with the potential for misdemeanor or felony charges.
- License suspension: Your license could be revoked, limiting those commuting to school or job opportunities.
- Post-college opportunities: A criminal conviction is a limiting factor when it comes to many employers, especially for government jobs. Graduate schools and internships may also include conviction reports in their application process, which could weigh into your consideration.
Looking out for your child’s future
The criminal penalties, fines and possible jail time are only one side of the considerations college students have to take into account when charged with a DWI in New York. College should be a time for learning from one’s mistakes. A parent wants their children to use that time to mold themselves into a more responsible person. If a student is charged with a DWI, a criminal defense attorney with experience in underage DWIs can help them explore what options are available.