Drunk driving is an extremely common offense among college students. With Uber and Lyft just a few taps away, it’s easier than ever before to get home safely after a night of drinking.

Still, people make mistakes. Perhaps you had a drink or two too many. Maybe you misjudged your blood alcohol level. Or maybe you were on a new medication that intensified the effects of alcohol.

Whatever the circumstances, you got pulled over and arrested, and now you’re looking at a criminal record.

The penalties go beyond just the legal

The penalties for a DUI conviction can be costly – even for a first-time offense. You’ll be looking at thousands of dollars in fines, court fees and legal bills. Depending on your BAC, you could also face jail time and license suspension.

The impact of a DUI extends beyond just the legal penalties, however. Your reputation is also on the line. A conviction could impact:

  • Extracurricular activities: You might get sidelined from sports or kicked out of academic organizations.
  • Employment: You could lose your job (and miss out on future job opportunities.) If you’re on the path to a professional career such as medicine or law, you may have trouble getting licensed later on.
  • Education: Your financial aid, scholarships and grad school opportunities might be in jeopardy. You could even face school disciplinary proceedings such as suspension or expulsion.

Handling these charges the right way

Given what’s at stake, you should never attempt to defend against DUI charges on your own. A bad outcome could change the entire course of your future. It’s well worth it to enlist the legal help you need for not only protecting your rights in the present, but protecting your future as well.