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Beware: alcohol-related risks on your college campus

Whether you're in your first or final year of college, you've probably already learned many new things since arriving at your North Carolina campus. Hopefully, you've made some new friends and have progressed toward your goal of earning a degree in a particular field of study. If you're involved in your school's sports program or other extracurricular activities, you've likely been able to call home to share various stories of excitement and success.

College is obviously not all fun and games. Like other serious students, you likely have spent many hours studying, researching and completing complicated assignments. While school administrators are obligated to provide a safe and healthy environment for you and your fellow students, there are certain potential dangers inherent to college life that could place you in harm's way. Many negative risks involve alcohol.

Your life may be forever-changed

The social aspect of college life is a main attraction for many students. You might have already taken advantage of various opportunities to engage in cultural and community fun at school. It's no secret that college night life often includes drinking alcohol. There are many negative effects associated with repeated indulgence of this kind, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • At risk for physical assault: Even students who have not been drinking are at risk for assault if they socialize with those who have. Well over half a million college students between ages 18 and 24 report being assaulted by students under the influence of alcohol every year.
  • At risk for sexual crimes: Alcohol lowers the ability to be aware of one's surroundings and may also inhibit the ability for self-protection. Many sexual assaults are committed against students who were intoxicated at the time; others have been victims of date rape and similar assaults by perpetrators who were themselves intoxicated.
  • At risk for fatal accidents: Every year, nearly 2,000 college students die in alcohol-related motor vehicle collisions.
  • At risk for poor grades: It's challenging enough to keep up with rigorous studies without adding cognitive delays induced by alcohol intake to the mix. Suffering hangovers, missing class or performing poorly on tests are all possible consequences of binge drinking at school.

There are other health-related problems associated with alcohol that negatively affect many North Carolina college students. If you have suffered from depression, experienced suicidal tendencies or have been diagnosed with alcohol use disorder, you are one of many who may want to seek outside support to address your current problems.

DWI can make matters worse

If you drink and drive, law enforcement may end up pulling you over for your actions. On top of watching your grade average plummet or having to call home and tell your parents you were docked a grade for missing classes, getting arrested and charged with DWI can bring your college success and fun to an abrupt halt. Below are some of the ways in which DWI can negatively impact your college career:

  • Possible suspension: School rules vary regarding this issue, but an arrest and charges for an alcohol-related crime may place you at risk for immediate academic suspension.
  • Tainted record: DWI is a criminal offense and a traffic violation. You will have a criminal record if convicted. Your school records may also negatively reflect your actions, as authorities typically notify school officials after a student's arrest.
  • Financial problems: There are usually fees associated with a DWI charge (and possible financial penalties under conviction as well). This could necessitate using funds you had set aside for tuition and other school-related costs, leaving you unable to meet those expenses.

Everyone makes a poor choice here or there in life. No one wants you to suffer permanent negative repercussions for a momentary lapse in judgment. On the other hand, if you are in need of emotional or medical support because of a serious alcohol addiction, there are resources available at school and beyond to help you. With regard to DWI, a criminal defense attorney can act on your behalf to seek as positive an outcome as possible so you can overcome your challenges and get your college career back on track.

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