Can You Get Kicked Out of School for a Pittsburgh DUI?
You may not think a Pittsburgh DUI would have an impact on your life, other than on your criminal record. But if you’re a college student, driving under the influence could derail your education.
Whether you study at Alleghany County Community College, the University of Pittsburgh, or Carnegie Mellon University, your college has a student handbook that sets an alcohol policy and code of conduct. Most colleges include DUIs on their lists of prohibited conduct, and if you violate your school’s code, you could face sanctions ranging from a warning to expulsion.
You’ve invested a lot of time and money into your education, so don’t throw it away after a single mistake. Fortunately, a Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer can help. If your lawyer can fight the criminal charges it can help you avoid discipline from your school.
For more information about beating a college DUI, call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today at (412) 281-2146 for a free consultation.
Check Your Student Handbook After a DUI
Your student handbook will spell out the disciplinary procedures, penalties, and prohibited conduct at your university. Generally, penalties are determined by a panel that has a lot more flexibility than a judge. So, depending on your standing with the school and the seriousness of your conduct, you could receive a:
- Warning--The least severe consequences of misconduct. It’s basically a formal acknowledgment of the incident and a statement that another misstep will result in a harsher punishment. If you’ve been charged with DUI, it’s unlikely you will get away with only a warning unless there are mitigating circumstances.
- Probation–This means you can keep going to class, but are subject to restrictions. For example, you may no longer be able to drive to and from class, and you might have to attend alcohol counseling. This is a common consequence for a first time DUI.
- Suspension–When you’re suspended, you are excluded from campus, classes, and college events for a certain period. When you’re charged with DUI, your college could decide to suspend you until your case is completed and you’ve served your punishment. This is a serious consequence, especially because your tuition won’t get refunded in most cases.
- Expulsion–This is the most serious punishment. Generally, the permanent exclusion from campus is reserved for the most severe cases. In the context of a DUI, multiple offenses, or a single offense that causes a serious injury may be enough to warrant this punishment.
You may face different penalties depending on your area of study. For example, the Community College of Allegheny County has separate and harsher consequences for nursing students who commit DUI. If you have a single DUI conviction or pending prosecution within the last year, you are barred from admission into the program. Once in the program, two DUI convictions result in automatic expulsion.
A Lawyer Can Help You Avoid the Consequences
It’s important to understand that as a student, you face two procedures: one with your school and one in criminal court. The two are independent, but the outcome of your criminal proceedings can influence your school disciplinary hearing. For example, if you immediately plead guilty to DUI, your school will assume you are guilty and punish you accordingly. But if you fight your charge and secure an acquittal or a lesser offense, you will fare much better at your disciplinary hearing.
Pennsylvania has a “zero tolerance” policy for underage DUI, which means that a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .02. So if you’re an underage student, getting behind the wheel after a single beer puts you at risk of criminal penalties and disciplinary action.
With such high stakes, you owe it to yourself to get the best legal representation possible. Call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC today at (412) 281-2146 for a free consultation about defending your DUI case.