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Will a DUI affect your child’s college admission hopes?

Let us say your son Scott is at the point of considering colleges. His grades are good, and a scholarship might be available. Like many parents, however, you have concerns that one move may interfere with the best-conceived college plans. In Scott’s case, the concern is that a mark on his driving record may make enrollment difficult, if not impossible.

Some college applications ask for information about arrests and convictions. How should Scott answer such questions so that he still has a chance at enrollment?

The problem

Coming home from the junior prom, law enforcement pulled Scott over for speeding. Unfortunately, he had consumed some beer before getting behind the wheel and testing verified that he had a blood alcohol content of just less than 0.02 percent. You paid the $500 fine for him as well as the court costs, and Scott lost his driver’s license for 90 days.

How colleges react

Every college has its own set of rules and regulations, and some are tougher on prospective students than others. The good news is that Scott’s DUI charge, his first such conviction, is classed as a misdemeanor, not a felony, which allows him a better opportunity for admittance to a school. In fact, if your son is willing to complete an alcohol education program, he will improve his chances, in some cases. Applying for a scholarship may be more difficult, although some scholarship programs are available to college applicants who have a DUI mark on their driving record. Your son’s wisest course of action is to be open and truthful about his DUI if asked about convictions on a college or scholarship application. Dishonesty is a sure route to admission denial.

The road ahead

A criminal defense attorney accustomed to working with underage drivers charged with DUI will tell you that Scott's future may include some obstacles. Young people and their parents have to make smart decisions when confronted with moves that can affect an otherwise bright future. There may be options such as expungement that could make the path easier.


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