Ohio Drunk Driving Law and the College Student
If you get a DUI while attending an Ohio college or university the effects can be devastating. It is vital that you speak to an attorney prior to making any legal decision that can affect your future. Too many frightened and overwhelmed students choose to just plead guilty not knowing the life-long consequences their actions can have.
In a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) survey, 44% of college students reported binge drinking at least once in the two weeks prior to being surveyed. 19% reported frequent binge drinking, and more than half of those admitted to drinking and driving in the 30 days prior to being surveyed. It is not surprising that college students are arrested for DUI in high numbers. Charles M. Rowland II has helped college students in and around Dayton since 1995. His experience includes representing students before Judicial Conduct Boards, and having full hearings before institutional investigative bodies. He as also served as an adjunct professor for the Wright State University Honors Program and as a city prosecuting attorney in Greene County and has represneted students from most, if not all, of the local colleges and universities. He can help you inside and outside the courtroom to achieve a fair resolution to your case. When the stakes are this high, it is important to discuss your options with a criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in representing college and university students.
On Campus Punishment. All colleges and university take alcohol and drug issues seriously. If your school chooses to inject itself in your criminal case, the institutional punishment that you will face is spelled out in your Student Code of Conduct. The decision to take action can depend on factors such as:
- your previous history with the police,
- your previous history of institutional infractions
- the location of your offense (on-campuse or off?),
- any publicity surrounding your case,
- your age (did you obtain the alcohol legally?),
- what major or program you are involved in,
- whether you are a student-athlete,
- whether you are involved in a fraternity/sorority,
- whether you are a “scholarship” student,
- a prior history of alcohol problems on campus,
- any property damage,
- how bad you make the school look to the larger community,
- injuries to you or others; and
- the severity of the impact on the college community
If you have a federal scholarship and you are convicted of ANY drug offense, including a State misdemeanor marijuana charge, you will lose your scholarship for at least one year, and you could lose it permanently. Early reinstatement is possible if certain criteria are satisfied. Begin your research by looking at your Student Code of Conduct. Listed below are links to the Student Codes of Conduct of many of the Miami Valley Colleges and Universities
- Wright State University’s Student Code of Conduct
- University of Dayton’s Student Standards of Behavior and Code of Conduct
- Central State University’s Student Handbook and Code of Conduct
- Wittenberg University Student Code of Conduct and Ethics
- Cedarville University’s Student Handbook
- Wilmington College Student Code of Conduct
- Urbana University Student Handbook
Institutional penalties for drug and/or alcohol offenses may include: loss of scholarships and federal financial aid; loss of student housing; loss of college-related privileges (attending campus events, library use, etc.; temporary and/or permanent suspension), and you may be put on a probationary period. The worst offenses may result in permanent expulsion from the school. Some of these punishments may be levied even if the case does not result in a conviction for DUI. Some schools show a great deal of leniency and understanding, others are notorious for harsh reactions. Charles is familiar with the special circumstances surrounding a DUI arrest in college. He knows how awful it is to inform your parents that you were arrested and will work hard to educate and empower you and your family about your case. He can help with issues caused by family being far away. He can help get you driving privileges. He will tell you about costs in a fair and up-front manner. He will spell out your options about obtaining a “free attorney” either through the local Public Defender’s Office or via your campus pre-paid legal program. Charles, and the entire staff of DaytonDUI will make you a priority.
Underage Consumption. Underage possession or consumption of beer or intoxicants is a serious crime in Ohio. The charges are first-degree misdemeanors carrying a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and up to a $1,000.00 fine. Worse yet, a conviction may leave you with a “criminal record” which is much more serious than a fine or costs. Fear, shame or guilt may compel you to want to plead guilty to put the charge behind you, but that decision may have long-lasting and unintended consequences. If you are under 21 years old, drinking alcohol is illegal in the State of Ohio. Ohio Revised Code 4301.69(E)(1) provides that “No underage person shall knowingly order, pay for, share the cost of, attempt to purchase, possess, or consume any beer or intoxicating liquor in any public or private place. No underage person shall knowingly be under the influence of any beer or intoxicating liquor in any public place.”
The same section provides for three recognized exceptions to the law, they are set forth below:
- If the person is in the “presence of their parent, legal guardian or spouse who is over 21 years old;”
- If the alcohol is consumed as part of a recognized religious service; and
- If the alcohol is prescribed for medical treatment.
Section 4301.69(E)(2), sets forth a diversion program for underage offenders. It states, “[i]f the child completes the diversion program to the satisfaction of the court, the court shall dismiss the complaint and order the child’s record in the case sealed under sections 2151.356 to 2151.358 of the Revised Code. If the child fails to satisfactorily complete the diversion program, the court shall proceed with the complaint.” A child is ineligible for diversion if he or she has previously been diverted. O.R.C 4301.69(A)-(C) also contain harsh penalties for furnishing alcohol to minors or providing them accommodations in which the “owner or occupant” allows a person to remain while the person is possessing or consuming alcohol. Many times police will target the owner of a home, apartment or dorm room wherein minors are drinking. If you are under 18 at the time of your arrest, your case will be prosecuted in the Juvenile Court. Person under 21, but older than 18 will have their cases heard in the Municipal Court. Often, resolving the matter in court is not the end of the process. Most university students face a disciplinary hearing before a university review board or student government panel.
Long-term Ramifications. In addition to dealing with any penalties you may face in school, you have to be mindful of the long-term impact of a DUI conviction. Most employers now routinely do a background check on candidates. The job market is increasingly competitive and having a DUI on your record may be the difference in beginning your career or being unemployed. If the career you are pursuing requires obtaining a professional license, it is even more important to fight your charge. Whether you are pursuing a career in medicine, law, nursing accounting or another profession, the licensing board will scrutinize your criminal record before granting you licensure. Dayton, being a hub of the aerospace and defense industries, has a large number of employers who will require that applicants be eligible for high level security clearances. Other jobs may require you to obtain fleet insurance, drive a company car or secure a commercial driver’s license. A DUI can be a major obstacle. Parents sometimes tell us that their children should pay the price if they are arrested for drunk driving while at college. Often parents do not realize how steep that price can be.
DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in Dayton, Springfield, Kettering, Vandalia, Xenia, Miamisburg, Springboro, Huber Heights, Oakwood, Beavercreek, Centerville and throughout Ohio. He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671. For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500. Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter @DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube. You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324. “All I do is DUI”
- DUI And The College Student (daytondui.com)
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