DUI Consequences for College Students

After earning an undergraduate degree and completing coursework for a master’s degree in social work, Suzanne Glen learned a final lesson that would invalidate many of her previous ones.  After being charged with a DUI in Alabama, the University of Tennessee indefinitely suspended Suzanne in November 2009.  She continued her master’s coursework through the Spring of 2010 while appealing her punishment.  Even though she was only convicted for Reckless Driving and not DUI, Suzanne’s appeal failed, and she is now unable to receive her degree, her transcripts, or any of the $13,000 she spent on Spring courses.

However startling, Suzanne’s is not an uncommon case.   There are many thousands of college students who drink and drive.  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.  Little do they know that their irresponsible social behavior, regardless of academic standing, could prohibit them from earning a degree.  In a similar NHTSA survey, an alarming number of high school students also admitted to drinking and driving, which, if caught, could prevent them from being accepted to college.

In addition to showing just how life-altering a DUI charge can be, Suzanne’s case highlights the importance of hiring an attorney who specializes in DUI Defense—something Suzanne did not do.  Attorneys that specialize in DUI Defense will be familiar with how a DUI will affect school and job applications, student statuses, various degrees, professional licenses, and other certifications.  Such attorneys will be more apt to follow the course of action best-suited to each client’s unique interests.  A list of attorneys who are certified as specialists in Tennessee may be found at http://www.cletn.com/Specialists.aspx.


Sentencing and Dispositions of Youth DUI and Other Alcohol Offenses: A Guide for Judges and Prosecutors. NHTSA. http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/alcohol/youthdui/index.html

“UT rejects woman’s appeal of suspension, withholds degree”. The Knoxville News-Sentinel. 9-23-10. http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2010/sep/23/UT-rejects-woman-appeal-suspension-degree/

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