For decades, students all over the United States have struggled to attain college admission. While an impressive resume, reliable references, and stellar SAT scores should be all college administrations need, this isn’t usually the case. More colleges are now using background checks to screen college applicants to reduce the potential pool. What does this mean for applicants with a DUI record? Can it impact college acceptance? This all depends on a few things.
In case a college applicant has a DUI record, the institution can do three things:
- Deny the applicant the chance to join the institution. Some colleges might reject an application simply because of a DUI record. There are institutions with strict policies that say applicants with a criminal record cannot join the school. However, most colleges don’t have firm rules, so you might want to consider this when sending out applications.
- The institution may allow the applicant to join the college while using the DUI as a factor. Most colleges will put a DUI into consideration when deciding whether to accept or reject a college application. In such a case, the college can weigh the DUI against other credentials a student has. The institutions might also consider the DUI record against other applicants that don’t have a history. For example, when two students with equal academic qualifications and the enrollment spaces are limited, the student with no record has the edge over the applicant with a DUI record.
- Ignore the DUI entirely and accept the student to join. Some institutions completely ignore the fact that an applicant has a DUI record. This is usually the case when the university did not carry out a criminal background check.
The decision to accept a student with a DUI record depends on several factors like the college policies and the details and severity around the DUI.
The types of DUI
The first type of DUI is a misdemeanor. Mostly, a first-time DUI is considered a misdemeanor offense. Such a crime is way less severe and generally will not affect your college acceptance.
On the other hand, a felony DUI is a severe offense. It occurs when a charge is serious. Your violation might be considered a felony DUI under the following instances:
- If your blood alcohol concentration is too high during an arrest.
- If you had an additional past DUI record within ten years.
- If your DUI resulted in death or an injury.
A felony DUI is likely to make it hard for you to be accepted to a college. For example, a DUI that results in death shows a higher chance that the admission board will reject your application.
Suppose a person has reason to believe a DUI record will negatively impact his or her college application. In that case, one can always try to expunge it. You can learn how to expunge a DUI here. Expunging criminal records is like erasing past mistakes.
Do you have to disclose your DUI?
Legally, you don’t have to disclose a criminal record if the college doesn’t ask about it. However, suppose you’re aware that the college will likely do a background check on your criminal history. In that case, it doesn’t do you any good to lie about it when asked. Lying on the application can lead to refusal if the institution finds out before you are admitted. You can be expelled if it is discovered later that you lied. Even if you succeed in keeping it a secret for the four years and the college finds out after graduation, there is a risk of your degree getting rescinded. Our article “The negative effects of DUI on a college student” explains this further.
Just like job applications, whether or not a college accepts your application will depend on how they perceive your offense as well as specific facts surrounding your case. Sometimes, showing remorse and a desire to change your habits and attitude towards drinking and driving is enough to convince the administration. On the other hand, multiple DUI offenses could be much harder to overlook.
You’re probably aware of Ban the Box Law prohibiting employers from asking about one’s criminal history on applications. The Senate just introduced another bill, Senate Bill 776, also known as “Ban the Box for Higher Education.” This law could help reduce discrimination against college applicants with criminal records.
Suppose you believe your criminal record could affect your chances of getting accepted into a college. In that case, we strongly advise you to seek an experienced attorney for legal assistance. Attorney Don Hammond, the Criminal Defense Hero, provides expert legal services, and he’s just a call away at 323-529-3660.