Collateral consequences are additional consequences that accompany criminal charges. Most college students worry about the legal penalties of a criminal charge, such as a DUI. However, the collateral damage of a criminal charge could add up to be even worse than the legal consequences.
It is critical for students to understand all of the consequences involved in a criminal charge, so they can better protect their futures.
Collateral consequences can significantly impact your personal life
The penalties for a first-time DUI in Pennsylvania include:
- Paying a fine up to $300
- Serving six months of probation
- Attending classes about highway safety
However, the impacts of a DUI charge do not stop automatically after six months, especially when it comes to your personal life. The aftermath of a DUI charge, even without a conviction, can have a critical effect on your relationships. Both family and friends may question the trust you earned.
You could suffer severe emotional stress as well. Losing confidence in yourself could inhibit your future career as well as your academic standing.
Penn State's specific collateral consequences
Your college career could also suffer from collateral consequences. Students charged with criminal activities off campus usually still have to meet with the Office of Student Conduct. The administration investigates the situation and determines whether the student violated the Code of Conduct.
In addition to code violations, Penn State also has a list of collateral consequences that students could face after criminal charges. These include:
- The elimination of financial aid
- Possible eviction from campus housing or other housing
- Exclusion from internships or other opportunities
What can you do to minimize collateral consequences?
The best way to avoid collateral consequences of a DUI is to avoid driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When preparing for a night out, it is helpful to choose a designated driver or call a sober friend to give you a ride. Planning ahead can significantly reduce the chances of a DUI.
However, students facing charges or collateral consequences still have options to fight these charges and protect their futures. Mistakes happen, but it is essential for students to remember that their family and an experienced attorney can serve as a strong support system in a time of uncertainty.