Raleigh DWI Lawyer Reminds College Students to Mind Alcohol Consumption on Football Game Days

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Attorney David Coolidge, founder of The Coolidge Law Firm, says drinking and college football is a combination that can often lead to long-lasting legal trouble.

DWI lawyer in Raleigh

Raleigh DWI attorney David Coolidge

Many college students are new to the freedom of being at school, and too many learn the hard way that drinking irresponsibly can lead to long-lasting legal trouble.

With college football season kicking off this month, students attending games in the Triangle and beyond need to be cautious about their alcohol consumption and their public behavior, Raleigh DWI lawyer David Coolidge said today.

Several Triangle colleges and universities began their 2012 football schedules in the first week of September, including Atlantic Coast Conference members N.C. State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University.

“Particularly since tailgating has become a standard part of the Saturday college football experience, those students who choose to drink alcohol need to make good decisions about their consumption and how they are affected by alcohol,” said Coolidge, founder of The Coolidge Law Firm, a Raleigh criminal defense law firm that serves clients throughout Wake County and the Triangle area.

“Many college students are new to the freedom of being at school, and too many learn the hard way that drinking irresponsibly can lead to long-lasting legal trouble,” the Raleigh DWI attorney said.

Coolidge devotes a significant portion of his law firm’s legal practice to student crimes in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area. He pointed out that legal issues may carry other consequences for college students, including expulsion from school, loss of scholarships and financial aid and difficulty finding a job later on due to a criminal record.

“College students who are charged with driving while impaired, or DWI, or other offenses certainly face unique and challenging issues,” Coolidge said. “One bad decision can have an impact in many different areas of a student’s life.”

Coolidge cited separate studies by University of Florida researchers that demonstrate the strong correlation between college football and excessive drinking.

In a 2011 study, individuals who had been tailgating before football games at two different universities agreed to take Breathalyzer tests. A total of 40.2 percent of those at a Southeastern university and 31.9 percent at a Midwestern university produced breath samples over the legal limit for driving, which is .08 percent blood-alcohol content (BAC). Larger percentages at each football game “engaged in heavy episodic drinking,” the study abstract says.

A 2009 University of Florida study of arrest records in “a university town with a successful NCAA Division I football program” found more arrests for alcohol-related offenses on 10 days with home football games than on 10 holidays or 10 non-game Saturdays that were examined. On average, there were 70.3 arrests on each football game day, compared to 12.3 arrests on non-game "control Saturdays," and 11.8 arrests on holidays.

Coolidge pointed out that alcohol-related arrests are not limited to driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrests.

“Excessive alcohol consumption is behind many arrests for assault and vandalism,” he said. “Even if you never leave campus or never even get into a car, especially on a football Saturday, a drunken college student can very easily find himself in legal trouble.”

The veteran Wake County criminal defense attorney said students should not face criminal charges without an attorney who is experienced at working with college students.

“A student who has been arrested for alcohol- or drug-related offenses, or on any criminal charge, at a football game or elsewhere should ask to phone a lawyer and then politely decline to answer questions until their defense attorney is present,” Coolidge said.

About The Coolidge Law Firm

The Wake County criminal defense attorneys of The Coolidge Law Firm provide skilled, experienced and aggressive legal representation to those throughout Raleigh, Cary, Garner, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Morrisville, Knightdale and other communities in Wake County and its surrounding area who have been charged with felonies, misdemeanors and traffic offenses.

The firm’s practice areas include DUI / DWI, traffic violations, drug possession, sex crimes, student crimes, theft, robbery, violent crimes, domestic violence and probation and parole violations. The firm also represents those in criminal matters involving habitual felon status, motions for appropriate relief (MAR) and expungment.

The firm’s office is located at 2501 Blue Ridge Road, Suite 250, Raleigh, NC 27607. To learn more about The Coolidge Law Firm, call (919) 239-8448 any time of day, any day of the week or use the firm’s online form.

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