Extra DWI Consequences for College Students in Minnesota


jennifer-speasFacing a driving while intoxicated charge is difficult for any resident of Minnesota, but for college students, the extra consequences of a DWI make the scenario even more ominous.

These sometimes dire consequences make it imperative you hire an experienced defense attorney immediately if you are a college student facing a DWI charge in Minnesota.

Harsh Standards for Minors

The first consideration is whether you are under the age of 21. Minors in Minnesota face a stricter consideration for driving under the influence, as legally they are not supposed to be drinking. The normal standard for being charged with DWI in Minnesota is a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. But for a minor, that blood alcohol limit drops all the way to 0.02 percent, so a minor can be considered an impaired driver after only one or two drinks.

Underage drinking also carries harsher penalties, which could include having your vehicle confiscated, suspension of your driver’s license, mandatory community service or requirements to attend an alcohol education class. These mount on top of stiff fines and possible jail time, depending upon the severity of the DWI and the circumstances of how you were caught (if you caused an accident in which someone was injured or killed vs. a regular traffic stop or DWI check lane).

General DWI Cases

For those college students who are of legal age to drink, you can expect to face the same penalties as any adult through the legal proceedings. A first-time DWI is consider a misdemeanor in Minnesota, but still carries possible penalties of jail time, a fine of up to $1,000, probation and alcohol or drug treatment. A second DWI could result in up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $3,000.

Again, the penalties will depend upon the seriousness of the situation in which you were caught driving under the influence. But jail time or treatment programs could interrupt your education or cause you to miss enough classes to lower your grades or fail. Fines could affect your ability to afford to stay in school.

Affects Beyond the Courts

College students face additional consequences for a DWI arrest through their universities. Each university deals with students’ criminal issues differently, but most will require students to go through some sort of disciplinary process. Often, these disciplinary cases move more quickly than the criminal proceedings, so a student needs to be represented by an attorney immediately to achieve the best outcome through these processes.

Universities typically have an office that conducts the investigation into your case then presents the evidence to a governing body composed of staff, faculty and students. These hearings will determine what academic sanctions you could face. Sanctions could range from suspension, to required classes or treatment to expulsion from the university, depending upon the seriousness of the case, whether it’s a repeat offense or even how your conduct reflects upon the university.

A DWI conviction also will follow you through future educational pursuits. Frequently, graduate programs such as law, medicine, education and other professional programs will reject applicants with a DWI conviction. At best, you will need to prove you have completed a treatment program or an educational curriculum to show you have addressed the problem and don’t pose a further risk to the academic program.

All of these serious consequence should convince college students that if you are drinking, give up the keys to your car. The inconvenience of having someone drive you home is far better than facing criminal and academic discipline for making the mistake of getting behind the wheel after drinking.

If you are facing a DWI case, contact us immediately for an experienced defense to get the best outcome for your present and your future.

Disclaimer: The content of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact Jennifer Speas to discuss the specifics of your case.