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College students: How to handle alcohol-related arrests on holiday break

Fall semester is finally over. You toiled through all-night study sessions and managed to survive finals. It's time for a well-deserved break. Time to catch up on sleep and catch up with friends.

For some college students, however, the chance to celebrate during holiday break turns into a night behind bars and extended legal troubles for an alcohol-related offense. Perhaps you had a few too many drinks at a party and got stopped on suspicion of DUI during the drive home. Maybe you got busted for underage drinking or open-container violations.

Don't let one mistake ruin it all

Whatever the specifics of your situation, you likely have a lot to lose. Just because it didn't happen on campus doesn't mean you're in the clear. On the contrary, you can still face school disciplinary action for drinking-related charges. An arrest could jeopardize your financial aid, your good standing, your job prospects and your future.

You've worked hard to get where you are, and you don't want a one-time misstep to derail everything.

Making smart decisions to protect your rights

Fortunately, there are ways to protect your education, reputation, rights and future. And with a smart defense, you can avoid the pitfalls that cause a single mistake to result in a downward spiral of ripple-effect consequences.

Perhaps the police officer didn't have legal justification to perform a traffic stop. Maybe the field sobriety tests were inaccurate. With the help of a lawyer, you may have grounds for challenging the charges – or negotiating a plea deal that keeps your criminal record clean.

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