Georgia is home to a plethora of private and public academic institutions, notably the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State and dozens of others. The state's rich educational landscape serves thousands of students. The University of Georgia, the state's flagship institution, employs a rigorous Code of Student Conduct. For the purposes of this article, UGA's code will serve as the example in determining consequences for students facing DUI charges.
This article specifically pertains to how academic institutions handle DUI charges, where an Athens-Clarke County DUI Lawyer could come into play, how or if enrollment is affected and other consequences associated with a drunk driving charge for a college student in Georgia.
The UGA Code of Conduct holds that “the operation of a motor vehicle after consumption of alcohol and/or use of drugs” is a Level II Violation, a more serious offense than a Level I Violation. The Code specifies that consumption of any amount of alcohol before operating a motor vehicle constitutes the violation. Students must adhere to the code both on and off campus. If the student violates state, municipal or federal law and their act equally violates the Code of Conduct, the University may carry out proceedings under the code in addition to civil or criminal proceedings. The Office of Student Conduct will notify parents or guardians of alcohol or drug-related misconduct on the part of a student if they are under 21.
The University provides for informal resolutions or formal resolutions to Code of Conduct violations. For informal resolutions, a conduct officer and the student will agree upon one or more punitive sanctions to impose. The student may have a lawyer present at conduct meetings, should they choose. Formal resolutions are long and tedious, rivaling the formality of actual legal proceedings. During formal resolutions an investigation takes place, evidence is gathered, and the student will present their own case to a hearing panel or they will have an attorney represent them. The hearing panel will then assign one or more punitive sanctions. Students may appeal the decision of the formal hearing by sending necessary documents and hearing records to the Vice President of Student Affairs, who will either affirm or reverse the decision.
Sanctions for First Offenses are the completion of an Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) education program and probation. Possession offenses carry a 6-month probation. Consumption offenses carry a 12-month probation.
If a student is on 6 or 12-month probation for a past alcohol and drug violation and they are found driving under the influence, this will result in suspension from the institution. If a student has at least one prior alcohol or drug violation, regardless of probation status, a second violation involving driving under the influence will result in suspension from the institution. Any alcohol or drug violation during the suspension term or after it could result in another suspension, probation, AOD program, or expulsion from the University, in which case there is no hope for readmission. During suspension, a student is still obligated to pay tuition and housing costs. Suspension may impact scholarships, meal plans, access to University resources, immigration status for international students, and athletic participation and eligibility.
The consequences of a drunk driving charge can be severe and wide-reaching. If you face criminal charges and a Code of Conduct violation from your university, contact an Athens DUI Lawyer to protect your rights and education.