Young people in South Carolina and around the country who hope to attend college face a number of obstacles, and even minor blemishes on their personal or academic records could make the process even more challenging. Being charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not a minor matter, and it could lead to college admission applications being denied, scholarship funds being withdrawn and student loan requests being turned down.
Honesty is the best policy
College applicants with a DUI charge on their records may be tempted to conceal this information. This could be a costly mistake. While a drunk driving conviction could make getting into college more difficult, it may not be an insurmountable obstacle if college applicants take responsibility for their actions and demonstrate that they have learned a valuable lesson. However, concealing a DUI charge will likely lead to a rejection when a background check is run and the truth is discovered.
Being arrested for drunk driving can also make it more difficult to pay for college. Most scholarships have morals clauses stating that aid will be withdrawn if students break the law or engage certain types of behavior in behavior. A criminal record could also make it far more difficult to obtain student loans. This is especially true if the applicant was convicted on felony charges, which sometimes happens in DUI cases.
Seeking a more equitable outcome
Experienced criminal defense attorneys could urge prosecutors to reduce drunk driving charges when their clients are young, did not cause an accident and a conviction would have potentially life-changing consequences. Attorneys could make this argument vigorously if their client was charged under South Carolina’s zero-tolerance law and had a blood alcohol concentration below the state’s 0.08% limit for drivers over the age of 21.