One of the key things parents should know when they have a child arrested for DUI is that it is just as important for the child to have a lawyer as it is for an adult. If a child aged 17, 18, 19, or 20 is arrested for DUI in Georgia, they are treated just as a person who is over the age of 21, which means any conviction for the offense will go on their criminal history and on their driving record. If the child is 16 or younger when they are arrested for a DUI, however, there will be no formal criminal history record, but the charge will still go on their driving record. Therefore, a DUI conviction, even if the child is only 15 years old, can follow them around on their driving record for the rest of their lives.
For this reason, it is important that parents have an Atlanta DUI attorney for their children because there is a misconception that all offenses for underage drivers will not show up and that is not true. Their driving record will still reflect the arrest, even if their criminal history does not.
The police departments of the University of Georgia system and most of the major campuses, including Georgia Tech, University of Georgia, and Georgia Southern, are very aggressive. They will seek out, find, and arrest drivers who are impaired. If the driver is arrested by one of the university police departments, the university will be notified in all cases.
If the student is arrested by one of the local police departments, the probation officers or the judges will often notify the university that the student has been arrested.
Additionally, Georgia has a statewide program called the Hope Program which gives tuition assistance to any student who can maintain B average or above in their core curriculum. Criminal offenses, including DUI, can negatively impact the ability to get the Hope scholarship and other academic or athletic scholarships. In addition to the criminal penalties, most of the colleges and universities in the University of Georgia system will also administratively take sanctions against a student charged with the DUI, even if that offense occurs off-campus.
Most of the universities in Georgia will convene a panel, consisting of some students and members of the administration. They will require the student to talk about their DUI arrest, the circumstances of it, and what they have done to correct the behavior. Many times, that is the end of it.
For example, if there is a student that has been charged with a DUI, they will attend some drug and alcohol counseling that their attorney will send them to and take the alcohol drug risk reduction program. Both of these things can be shown to the university as evidence that the person is taking the charge seriously. The main thing that the university wants to know is that the student is accepting responsibility for their actions and learning from the offense.
Students who have been charged with DUI or other crimes in the University of Georgia system will receive a letter telling them that they must appear at the administrator office for a hearing. The hearing will usually consist of one or two student representatives and one or two administrative representatives. The hearing is considered to be informal in that the formal rules of evidence in court procedures do not apply.
The student is allowed to make a statement, present evidence such as proof of counseling, and explain the incident in their own words. Some of these schools will allow an attorney to be present, but certain panels will not allow the attorney to say anything. The best thing an attorney can do is to help prepare the student on how to handle the hearing, including what to say and not to say, and what types of proof to present.