Can a DWI Interfere with Your College Application?

Posted by Doug Murphy | Mar 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

If you are like most people, you probably have a general idea of the consequences that come with a conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI). The statute calls for jail time and fines, and these penalties get stiffer if you offend more than once. Not all repercussions from a DWI conviction are written into state law, however.

There are also collateral consequences attached to a DWI arrest. These consequences might not result from the statute, but they are commonplace following a DWI conviction. They can include difficulty obtaining a job or the loss of your security clearance, among other things. These collateral consequences are not limited to the professional world, either. If you are planning to go to college, a DWI conviction could have a negative impact on your academic future. In some cases, it could prevent you from going to college at all. If you are already enrolled, a conviction can still prove to be costly.

How a Texas DWI impacts Higher Education Applications

Every college is different. However, most colleges and universities have a complex admissions process. In addition to ensuring you have the transcript needed to qualify, these colleges also look into your background. This could include a criminal background check.

Whether or not a DWI conviction keeps you out of school could depend on the severity of the charge. For many schools, a misdemeanor conviction is not enough for your application to be denied. That's good since most of you applying for college for the first time aren't even of a legal age to drink, though of course you may, and if arrested, you likely face a misdemeanor.

If you are convicted of felony DWI, things are different. You could find your application summarily rejected, especially applications to graduate or professional schools. It is important to remember each school is in charge of its own admissions process, and some might be more forgiving than others.

A DWI could put your ability to attend college or graduate school in jeopardy even if you are accepted. In many cases, scholarships and financial require a clean criminal record, so that misdemeanor may have an unexpected impact. If you are on scholarship, you could find the offer rescinded upon your conviction. The same could be true for your student loan application. That said, much like with your college application, these financial institutions will treat a felony more harshly than a misdemeanor.

Current College Students in Houston, TX

Most colleges and universities maintain a code of conduct. In most cases, a criminal conviction could trigger academic sanctions against you. Like with the application process, schools are more likely to come down hard on a felony as opposed to a misdemeanor.

It is important to note that keeping your conviction to yourself may not be helpful. If your school enquires about your arrest or conviction, providing them with false information could result in your expulsion. Other academic penalties involving a DWI or lying about your conviction could include being barred from student activities, the loss of on-campus employment, or even changes to your student housing situation.

All of these consequences ultimately stem from your DWI conviction. In other words, your best chance to avoid a negative impact on your academic future is to beat the charges against you. Your defense could start with a phone call to a Board Certified expert in DWI defense.

About the Author

Doug Murphy

Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and also in DWI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense, accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.


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