College students and a DUI charge: What to expect

You’ve only had “a couple” drinks, so why not drive home?  Out of nowhere, those ever-recognizable blue lights start flashing behind you. Your worst fear realized.    

For most people, especially a college student, a DUI charge can be life-changing, at least in the short term. From fines to jail time and even the possibility of a revoked scholarship, challenges associated with a DUI can arise in many different forms.

First, some facts about DUIs

A standard misdemeanor DUI in Nebraska holds the following penalties:

  • A $500 fine
  • Seven to 60 days in jail
  • Six months without a license

Drivers can apply to keep their license during the six-month probationary period if they pay a $90 fee and have an interlock device, which checks your blood alcohol content (BAC), installed in their car.

Once installed, the driver must exhale into the device before trying to start the car. If your BAC is higher than the legal limit, your vehicle will not start. 

If your BAC .15 or higher, you will be charged with an aggravated DUI which carries the following consequences:

  • $500 fine
  • 60 days in jail
    • If you are given probation, no jail time is applied. The other charges would still apply.
  • Six months with a license
    • You can also apply for an ignition interlock device to legally drive.

A DUI’s effect on financial aid

Many college students charged with a DUI face sanctions from their university, such as the completion of community service hours and alcohol education program. Depending on the seriousness of the offense and policy, the university could also revoke or decrease your scholarship or financial aid. For very serious offenses, you could be kicked out of college.

Students convicted of a DUI alone and attending The University of Nebraska-Lincoln would not have to worry about sanctions on their financial aid.

Private scholarships are a different story. According to the Daily Nebraskan, if a scholarship mentions “character or integrity expectations,” student athletes could face additional discipline from their team, but that decision is up to the head coach and athletic director.

Will this charge hurt my chances of finding a job?

Your DUI likely won’t cause an issue when finding a part-time job in college. When searching for a position after obtaining your degree, the charge could cause some hurdles. 

It is always in your best interest to be honest on all applications. Companies will be more willing to overlook the one-time offense if you are honest.

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