Parents do their best when parenting their teens. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed many unsavory facts regarding teens and their safety, and few are so concerning as the revelation that 10 percent of those surveyed in the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance reported that they had engaged in drinking and driving. Parents are often completely unaware of such activities, but that ignorance can be expensive. When it comes to a teen's plans for the future and for college, a DUI can have a number of consequences.
Court could delay plans
The most obvious way in which a DUI can affect college plans is by simply delaying them. After a teen is charged, the case can take anywhere from six months to a year and a half on average. This means that an 18-year-old high school senior who is charged with drinking and driving might be preoccupied with the legal consequences of the charge until he or she is 21, which can put applications and admission on hold indefinitely.
A conviction could jeopardize funding
Most college students rely on financial aid to fund their education, but teens who have a criminal history may become ineligible for certain forms of federal and state aid. Alternative sources of funding such as private scholarships may be available, but standards for these are typically even higher than those established for public funds. A DUI can quickly cost aspiring students the funding needed to earn a degree.
Schools may not admit applicants with criminal history
There are some colleges that will automatically deny applicants with a criminal history of any kind. Policies regarding this will differ from school to school, but nearly all institutions will require applicants to disclose whether or not they have any convictions or pending charges. Failure to reveal a DUI conviction or ongoing case will almost certainly result in a teen's application being denied.
Involvement in extracurriculars may be limited
If a student with a DUI is admitted to college, other opportunities such as extracurricular activities may be limited. If a DUI case is ongoing, for example, a teen may be ineligible to join the swim team, even if he or she had previously been considered. College is far more than just attending classes and earning a degree, and a DUI will affect far more than those aspects of the college experience, too.
If your teen has been charged with a DUI, you should be aware of his or her legal options. Contacting an attorney may help you better understand the next step.