Last year, Georgia received the runner-up spot as the state with the strictest DUI laws in the country, according to WalletHub.com, a personal finance website. Of course, the No. 2 ranking pleases law enforcement officers in the state. In their opinion, strict laws act encourage drivers to find alternatives to getting behind the wheel when they are impaired.
Some people are good at realizing when they've had too much to drink. However, inexperienced drivers and students experiencing the freedoms that college provides may not yet realize when it is time to hand over the keys.
Young drinkers may not recognize dangers
Within two hours, it typically takes about four drinks for women and five for men to reach the legal blood alcohol limit of 0.08 percent, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Because college students often have opportunities to go to parties and social events, many develop a pattern of binge drinking that can lead to impairment quickly.
Men and women who are impaired face many dangers, including:
- Death: There are more than 1,800 college deaths in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes and other accidents per year.
- Assault: The rate of assault -- including sexual assault and date rape -- rises drastically when alcohol is involved.
- School troubles: Poor attendance and performance at school is a common side effect of drinking at college.
- Criminal record: Underage drinking, driving under the influence and disorderly conduct charges can affect a student's life in more ways than one.
An arrest leads to more than just fines
Young people may think that a DUI charge is merely a traffic offense. However, penalties for first offenders include a fine of from $300 to $1,000, driver’s license suspension of up to one year and mandatory community service of 40 hours. Depending on the circumstances for which the impaired driver was arrested, jail time of from 10 days to one year is also a possibility. A DUI remains on the driver’s record, which can create many problems, including possible expulsion from college and difficulty obtaining suitable employment.
Preventing long-term consequences
Georgia is serious about keeping drunk drivers off the road, and the courts see no reason to be lenient with someone arrested for DUI based on age. Since both administrative and criminal penalties are on the table, the college student facing charges is smart to reach out for legal assistance. There is just too much to lose.