College can be some of the best times of your life. Unfortunately, your newfound freedom can get you into trouble if you’re not careful. If your fun times get a little too wild and you decide to drive after drinking, you may get a DWI. For many college students who find themselves in trouble with the law, one of the first worries is how it will affect their academic and professional future.

Will my college know if I am arrested?

It’s fairly safe to assume that your school will know about an arrest. Many universities have agreements with local law enforcement to receive notice if there is any trouble with their students. Even if they don’t, they will likely find out.

Once your school finds out about your arrest, you will not only face consequences from the local law, but your actions will also be considered by your university and you may receive punishment from them as well.

What will my college do?

Most colleges hold their students to a written code of conduct. If your actions violate those expectations, you may face penalties dependent on the severity of the action. Since a school has a lower burden of proof than state laws, even if police do not charge you, you may still face punishment from your school.

Generally, anything that goes against the law will also be against your school’s code of conduct. The University of North Texas’ policies specifically state that misconduct includes “use, possession or distribution of alcoholic beverages, except as expressly permitted by law and university regulations, or public intoxication.” Obviously, this includes driving while intoxicated.

Penalties for misconduct like a DWI will vary dependent on your school and your action. This may be determined by a single school authority or you may need to appear in front of a committee. Possible penalties include admonition (written or verbal warning), loss of privileges, probation, suspension, expulsion or denial of your degree.

So yes, it’s possible that you could get kicked out of college for getting a DWI. Though not all schools allow lawyers into disciplinary hearings, it’s always smart to talk with a legal professional to understand the reality of your situation and get legal help.