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A college DUI can be costly in many ways

Drunk driving takes the lives of too many college students -- over 1,000 annually. Young drunk drivers (those 16 to 24) are responsible for nearly 40 percent of drunk driving accidents in which others lose their lives. These are sobering statistics, but important ones to remember for students attending parties at school and while they're home on winter break.

Final exam time is particularly stressful. It's only natural to want to take a break from studying and find the nearest party on campus. However, one drink can all too easily lead to half a dozen. It's essential to have a plan to get home (or to your dorm) safely before you go out and end up in no shape to make good decisions. Leave your car. Plan to call an Uber or Lyft, take a cab or call a friend who's sober. Many Maryland colleges and university have ride services like SafeRide that get students across campus.

Even if you aren't involved in a crash while driving under the influence, a DUI conviction can be costly in many ways. You could lose your license for at least six months, and be required to do some jail time. In Maryland, a first conviction can result in fines of up to $1,000. You may also have to pay for an alcohol education program and/or an interlock ignition device on your vehicle. Once you are able to drive again, expect a hefty increase to your insurance rates.

A college DUI conviction can follow you long after you graduate. It can impact your ability to get a good job in an already-competitive job market.

People facing DUI charges shouldn't try to deal with the justice system alone. There may be ways to challenge the evidence and/or the arresting officers' procedures. Experienced legal guidance can make a big difference in the consequences of the arrest.

Source: Campus Current, "Don’t throw away your future by driving drunk," Dec. 01, 2017

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