DUI for College Students

Phoenix Lawyer Helping Young Drivers

For some young people, college is the first place where they drink alcohol freely, whether or not they are of legal age. College students may enjoy opportunities to drink at fraternity parties, house parties, concerts, bars, or tailgating parties. Unfortunately, these activities may lead to a police stop for suspected drunk driving. DUI for college students can have serious consequences. If you were arrested for drunk driving, you should consult with seasoned Phoenix DUI attorney James E. Novak. As a former prosecutor, he brings his experience to build strong defenses for those accused of drunk driving. It's important for college students to fight these charges so that a drunk driving conviction does not cloud an otherwise bright future.

DUI for College Students

Under Arizona Revised Statutes section 28-1381, there are different circumstances under which you could be charged with drunk driving. You could be charged if you operated a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicating liquor, drug, vapor-releasing substance that includes a toxic substance, or some combination of these. You may also be charged if you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of your car where the concentration is the result of consuming alcohol before driving or while in actual physical control of the vehicle. You may also be charged if your body contains certain defined drugs or their metabolites.

If you are a college student who is under age 21, it's illegal to be in physical control of a motor vehicle while you have any spiritous liquor in your body. You can face penalties that are just as severe as they are for adults who have a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher.


In Arizona, drunk driving is classified as a DUI, extreme DUI, super extreme DUI, or aggravated DUI. Most DUI cases are charged as class 1 misdemeanors. For a conviction, you can face at least one mandatory day in jail. However, if your blood alcohol concentration was 0.15% or higher, you could face extreme DUI charges. Penalties for extreme DUI include a mandatory 30 days in jail, substantial fines, one year license suspension, community service, and vehicle impoundment. For a super extreme DUI conviction, in which your blood alcohol content is more than 0.20%, you could face a sentence of at least 45 days.

Arizona law punishes first offenses more severely than in some other states. As a college student, you may face automatic jail time and fines, but also nonjudicial consequences that are severe and potentially life-changing. A DUI conviction could impact your status at school and jeopardize the education you've worked for. It could endanger your future job prospects.

Defenses to DUI for College Students

Your lawyer should examine your case closely to determine what the strongest available defense would be and work to secure a favorable outcome, given your circumstances. As with other crimes, a DUI case against a college student must be established beyond a reasonable doubt. It may be appropriate to defend a DUI case by poking holes in the prosecutor’s version of events.

However, there may be constitutional and procedural defenses that maybe raised. For example, if the police obtained evidence of your intoxication without reasonable suspicion to stop you, you may be able to bring a motion to suppress that evidence under the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits illegal searches and seizures. In other cases, the police may not have followed proper lab protocols when testing your blood or urine. If the police did not calibrate the breath test device, the test results may be challenged.

The defense may also raise mitigating circumstances with the prosecutor, in hopes of securing a good plea deal or dismissal.

Hire a Seasoned Phoenix Attorney for College Students

College students concerned about DUIs should talk to experienced criminal defense lawyer James E. Novak. He defends college students facing drunk driving charges in Phoenix, as well as Gilbert, Tempe, Scottsdale, Chandler, Mesa, and throughout Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or complete our online form.

Client Reviews
I was facing criminal charges with three priors in my history. Mr Novak was very helpful and got me a lighter sentence than I probably deserved. He is a great attorney and I would highly recommend him. A. T.
James worked tirelessly behind the scenes with the prosecution, to decrease my son’s charges to a more reasonable penalty. I could not have asked for a better, more professional attorney. He treated my son with the utmost respect and walked him through every step of a very difficult situation. S. G.
Attorney Novak did an outstanding job defending my son. Due to his extensive professional background within the court system, he was successfully able to defend my son during a very difficult time for my family. I highly recommend Attorney James Novak for your legal needs. T. G.