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DUI Attorney for College Students in Tampa

Going away to college often comes with many challenges as a young person begins to assert their independence from their parents. Too many young people take chances with driving home after having consumed one to many alcoholic beverages.

Hillsborough County has more DUI arrests than any other county in the state even through it is only the fourth most populous county. Officers with the DUI enforcement agencies with local police departments target college students and the establishments they frequent.

In face, the University of South Florida Police Department sets up several checkpoints or roadblocks during the year to check for student driving under the influence on or near the campus. Other officers often sit outside student housing to stopped students as they enter or exit the parking lot.

The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, FL, represent college students charged with a wide variety of criminal offenses including driving under the influence of alcohol (also known as "DUI"). We most frequently represent students from the University of Tampa (UT) and the University of South Florida (USF). We are familiar with the issues faced by these students and the best ways to fight the charges for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In most of these cases, the charge is for a first DUI because the student has no prior DUI arrest or criminal record of any kind.

Call today for a free consultation to discuss your case either on the phone or in the office with an attorney today. Find out what you should do right now to protect yourself after this serious accusation. Act quickly to demand a formal review hearing of the administrative suspension within the first 10 days after the arrest.


The Disciplinary Hearing at the University after a DUI Arrest

Students at local colleges and universities face common issues including a disciplinary hearing for a student conduct code violation, especially if the DUI arrest occurred on or near the university or if the university police were involved in the arrest. In many of these cases, the univerisity will attempt to kick the student out of their dorm room or student housing. In fact, officers will often ask the person arrested where they attend school and record that information on their booking profile. That triggers their booking profile being sent to a local university even if the student was arrested off campus.

Obviously, if the school does not learn of the arrest, then the school will not take disciplinary action. An attorney can help you through that process with the goal of avoiding any notation in your academic record.


DUI Enforcement by the Police Departments at UT and USF

Many of our clients attend the University of Tampa (UT) or the University of South Florida (USF). Each university has its own police department and procedures for dealing with a student arrested for DUI. We are familiar with the tactics used by the DUI enforcement officers at the University of Tampa Campus Safety and the University of South Florida Police Department.

If the college student is arrested off campus for DUI, the arresting officer can be from one of the following agencies:

  1. Tampa Police Department (TPD);
  2. Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO);
  3. Florida Highway Patrol;
  4. Plant City Police Department; or
  5. Temple Terrace Police Department.

DUI for a College Student under 21 Years Old

Many college students arrested for DUI are under 21 and face an administrative suspension administered by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles even if they blew under the legal limit for a DUI of .08.

Even if the student is not arrested for being "under the influence" because only a small amount of alcohol was consumed, the officer can still initiate a civil penalty called the "administrative suspension" for driving with a BAC of only .04.

In these cases, the officer will typically ask the young person to blow into a handheld breathalyzer at the roadside and then released them at the scene. If the person refuses to submit to a lawfully requested breath test, then the administrative penalties can also apply.

After receiving notice of the administrative suspension for the zero tolerance suspension, the student should immediately seek out an attorney to file a demand for a formal review hearing within 10 days of the the notice.

The formal review hearing is held at the Bureau of Administrative Review of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The hearing must be held within 10 days of the notice. If the arresting officer fails to appear at the hearing after receiving a subpoena then the hearing officer is required to invalidate the suspension.

The formal review hearing allows the attorney to fight to have the suspension invalidated so that any mention of it can be erased from the driving record. If the suspension is not invalidated then it will remain on the driving record for the next 75 years.


College Students Arrested for DUI

In addition to any administrative action, the officer can also make an arrest for DUI. Enhanced penalties apply if and of the following circumstances are proven:

  1. a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense was under the age of 18 years old;
  2. the driver had a breath or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or above;
  3. this offense is a second or subsequent offense;
  4.  an accident or crash occurred that caused damage to unattended property, an unoccupied vehicle, or an occupied vehicle;

Felony charges for DUI can be charged if this is a third offense within 3 years of any prior offense or an accident occurred that resulted in serious bodily injury or death.


Finding a DUI Attorney in Tampa for a College Student

The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent college students after a DUI arrest. Related charges often include under aged possession of alcohol, possession of marijuana, driving while license suspended, or resisting arrest.

Call today for a free consultation to discuss the case. The DUI defense attorney in Tampa at the Sammis Law Firm provide a full service defense to help the student fight the criminal charges in court, the administrative hearing at the DMV, and/or the disciplinary hearing at the college or university.

We are familiar with the procedures used at all area colleges including the University of South Florida (USF) and the University of Tampa (UT). Call today for a free consultation to discuss the case.


This article was last updated on Thursday, April 28, 2016.