One issue that many college students in the Destin area end up dealing with during spring break involves underage drinking and DUI charges. Not all adolescents can resist the temptation and peer pressure to drink alcohol and drive while they are out hanging with their friends and roommates. As fun and exciting as things may seem at the time, the results often lead to criminal charges and penalties that have a long-lasting impact on their lives.

The risks involved with underage drinking and DUI charges are not worth the consequences. Underage drinking is a zero-tolerance offense that can have a negative impact on the offender’s future. Here are some things to consider about underage drinking and DUIs.

The penalties

Penalties for underage drinking and driving while impaired are dependent on many factors. Usually, offenders can expect to have their driver’s license revoked, pay fines ranging from several hundred to thousands of dollars, have an ignition interlock device installed, undergo court-ordered treatment and education and spend some time behind bars. The penalties are much harsher for individuals who have a prior criminal history and for those in situations where there is property damage or injury and death involved.

Impact on school admission and financial aid

Criminal convictions can affect the outcome of college and financial aid decisions. Students already enrolled in school must disclose their situations. If they do not, they risk adverse actions that can affect their ability to matriculate for a certain length of time. Repeat offenders are in danger of getting expelled.

Effect on current and future employment

A condition of employment for many employers is for candidates to pass a background check. Arrests and infractions may not be enough to cause many employers to pass potential candidates up for employment, but misdemeanor and felony convictions are. Many people who have underage drinking and DUI convictions find it challenging to secure gainful employment in the career paths of their choosing. Some employment industries, such as the education and health care sectors, do not employ people who have DUIs and deny their certifications and licenses.

Underage drinking and driving may seem like harmless fun and games until someone gets hurt, injured or is caught. College students should think twice about the penalties and how their actions can alter their futures.