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Back to School DUI Guide for College Students

Whether you’re a first-time student on your college campus, or you’re back for another year, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to engage in the “college fun.” From tailgating before football games to house parties, and bonfires, these activities are all likely to have one thing in common — alcohol.

While not everyone in college chooses to participate in the alcohol scene, many campuses have a known stigma when it comes to drinking among students.

At Kitchin Law Firm, we believe it is part of our responsibility as a DUI defense attorney, to be an influencer in helping students make the best decisions that will shape their future.

With the number of DUI arrests that happen every year, it’s important for those entering college for the first time, and for those who’ve reached the legal drinking age, to not be negligent when it comes to drinking responsibly. Drinking and driving is not something that should ever be taken lightly.

To get students equipped for their college experience, we put together a basic back-to-school DUI guide with tips for avoiding a first time offense DUI, as well as actionable steps to take if and when a DUI is given.


DUI Defined

What exactly is a DUI? This may be a review for some, but a DUI means “driving under the influence” of drugs and alcohol. DUI’s and DUI laws are defined differently across each state, and no two DUI cases are ever the same. When someone gets caught driving under the influence, and is given a DUI charge as a result, it’s likely the driver has exceeded the legal limit for driving while under the influence.

How much is too much? That’s a question defense attorneys tend to hear following the event of a DUI arrest. When it comes to staying within a legal limit for driving, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is set to 0.8% across the United States. However, it’s always better not to test the waters of how much alcohol is too much, and try to plan accordingly.

Note, if you’re under the legal drinking age of 21, there is a ZERO tolerance for alcohol. No surprises here.


3 Tips for Avoiding DUI’s

In college, you’ll find that a lot of plans come together at the last-minute, leaving very little room to think through your decision and plenty of room for error. You may feel the pressure to just “go with the flow” like everyone else, without really considering what you might be getting yourself into. Here are three tips for avoiding DUI charges.


1. Know the Plan Ahead of Time

Know where you’re going and who you’re going with and consider these things:

  • Where is the party?
  • Who all is invited?
  • Will there be alcohol?

Weighing in these factors may seem like a pointless exercise or a waste of time, but it could be the one preventative action step you take that keeps you from getting caught up in an unexpected, alcohol-related situation.


2. Have A Back-Up Plan

If you decide to venture out for the night, your next step is to have a reliable back-up plan in place. Knowing where the party is, who all is going to be there, and whether or not there will be alcohol doesn’t guarantee that things won’t change.

So, what would you do if you showed up to a house-party and everyone is drinking alcohol?

This is where your back-up plan comes in. When you’re proactive in the “what-if” scenario, you’re less likely to be reactive in the moment.

  • If you’re a minor, leave the party. Whether you’re drinking or not, you don’t want to run the risk of getting a minor in possession (MIP) in the event of the police showing up and shutting things down.
  • If you’re 21 and you brought minors with you, leave the party. No questions asked.
  • Secure a designated driver (D.D.) ahead of time. If you’re 21, but you drove your friends who are also of the legal drinking age, make yourself the D.D. — this step is needed to prevent any sort of impaired driving that can quickly lead to a possible DUI arrest.

Always expect the unexpected. And, when the unexpected happens…be prepared to take initiative.


3. Don’t Risk It

No first time DUI offenses are ever planned or intended for. So, when it comes getting behind the wheel of a car after having a few drinks, the answer should always be no.

If you drove yourself to the party and think you’re fine to drive home after “sobering up” — don’t risk it. Talk to another friend who you know is a D.D. for the night, or call an Uber or Lyft to take you home. These options are in place to not only keep you safe and help prevent drunk driving, but to keep others safe on the road as well.


First Time DUI Offense

In college, with more social drinking opportunities, comes a greater risk for students to engage in drinking and driving, which can lead to the unwanted and unexpected DUI charge on their record.

At Kitchin Law, we understand that life happens and it’s not always easy to prepare for. When it comes to DUI charges, we’re here to help you understand the laws of your state and navigate you through your next steps for your case. This isn’t a legal battle you have to defend alone. As your DUI defense attorney, with more than (years of experience) and a high level of expertise, we can ensure that our time and commitment to you and your case will not waiver.

Your first time DUI offense doesn’t mean that your life is over.

To learn more about Kitchin Law Firm’s area of expertise and next steps to consider, click here.

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