With the new semester starting up, you are probably already feeling the pressure of reading requirements, research papers and other projects. However, you may also be feeling pressure from another source. Although it may seem acceptable to relieve your stress with a few beers, the consequences of those good times may haunt you.

If you had a run-in with local or campus law enforcement that resulted in a DUI or other alcohol-related offense, you are likely concerned about how those charges — and potential convictions — may affect your future. Regardless of your course of study or your plans for the future, you have every right to be worried.

On-campus penalties for alcohol violations

In light of the recent rise in alcohol abuse, injuries and fatalities on college campuses across the country, institutes of higher learning are taking a hard look at the policies for student possession and consumption of alcohol on and off campus. If you are a member of a fraternity or sorority, you may be under harsher scrutiny than most.

Many campuses, including The University of Oklahoma, do not allow alcohol except under rigidly controlled conditions. While you may try to skirt those rules by going off campus to consume alcohol, your efforts may be in vain if you meet with law enforcement.

In many college towns across the country, local law enforcement works closely with campus police to ensure the safety of all students. For this reason, if you are arrested for an alcohol-related offense off campus, local police will likely report the offense to the administration of your college.

In addition to the legal consequences, depending on your university’s policies, this could result in serious penalties, including:

  • Administrative fines that increase with each subsequent offense
  • Mandatory alcohol counseling at your expense
  • Mandatory community service
  • Notification of you parents or guardians
  • Disciplinary sanctions determined by the institution’s administration

In addition, any censures your college imposes may remain on your record for the remainder of your college career. This may damage your efforts to obtain certain scholarships, internships or entrance into programs requiring stellar codes of conduct.

If you attend The University of Oklahoma, you should be aware of its three-strikes policy for alcohol offenses. This policy gives the institution the right to suspend you after three violations of the college alcohol policies, following the appropriate hearings and due process. Other colleges may have similar rules, and you can probably find this information in your student handbook. Because of the strict policies on such campuses, you likely cannot afford a DUI conviction. Obtaining legal advice and guidance may be the best way to protect your future.