For students planning to attend college, a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) can lead to issues that impact the admissions process, financial aid, and future employment.

Colleges look for applicants who demonstrate personal responsibility along with their skills and academic achievement, and admissions departments take DUI convictions seriously when considering candidates.

Understanding the potential impacts will help you choose the best legal options to protect your academic future.


A police officer may determine that you are under the influence of alcohol after pulling you over for a violation. A field sobriety test may be used to determine your cognitive impairment.

You may also be charged with a DUI if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is equal to or above 0.08%. The consequences of a DUI conviction include loss of driving privileges, hefty fines and legal fees, and time spent in jail.

Criminal charges for a DUI must be dealt with separately from the suspension of your driver’s license. This makes the legal process more complex, costly, and potentially damaging to your daily life.

DUI convictions remain permanently on your record and appear when organizations or businesses perform a background check. This can impact your ability to attend college, obtain employment, or rent property.


Most colleges require applicants to disclose any arrests or convictions. It’s not uncommon for applicants with more than one DUI conviction to be denied by college admissions departments.

A single DUI conviction may not result in denial of your college application if you demonstrate that you’ve gone through an alcohol or drug treatment program.

But it’s important to disclose your DUI conviction, as colleges can deny your admission if you fail to include this information in your application.


Many students rely on financial aid to cover the cost of tuition, textbooks, and other education expenses.

Student loans and grants make it possible for many to attend college when they might otherwise be unable to because of financial hardships.

But a DUI conviction can rob you of the opportunity to obtain the financial assistance you need to attend college. Federal financial aid programs typically deny applicants who have DUI convictions on their records.

Financial aid providers have their own specific requirements for granting assistance to applicants. Some programs may deny aid to applicants with felony convictions while others may consider other levels of offense and arrests.


You should consult with an attorney before entering a plea in your DUI case. Your plea has long-term effects that must be considered, and your attorney will guide you through the options that are available to you.

Your college and professional goals should be shared with your attorney during this process. A plea deal can be made to minimize the impact of your DUI charge so that your college plans remain in place.

Having the legal resources to make the best decisions in a DUI case is critical to your ability to attend college, obtain financial aid, and secure your educational future.