Could a DWI conviction affect my ability to get into college?

You could face harsh penalties if you are convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in North Carolina, which can include up to 36 months in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000 for the most serious level of punishment. In addition, there are many other long-term consequences of a conviction. One ramification is that it may affect your ability to get admitted into college and other aspects of your college life.

What Is DWI in North Carolina?

College Student Working on HomeworkIt is illegal to drive a motor vehicle on a street, highway, or public place while intoxicated in our state. Under N.C.G.S. 20-138.1, an individual can be arrested for DWI for the following:

  • They were driving under the influence of an impairing substance.
  • They were driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher.
  • They were driving while there was any amount of a controlled substance, such as marijuana, cocaine, or heroin in their system.
  • If they are a commercial driver, they were driving with a BAC of 0.04 or higher.
  • If they are under 21 years old, North Carolina’s no-tolerance law would apply, and they could be convicted of DWI if there was any amount of alcohol in their system.

How a DWI Conviction Could Affect College Admissions

Being convicted of DWI can have an effect on a person’s ability to be accepted for admission by a college. This can be of special concern to seniors in high school and other young adults who are more likely to attend an institute of higher learning. However, individuals seeking admission into a master’s program, medical, nursing, or law school, and older adults trying to obtain a college degree can also have their plan impacted.

It is very likely that the college application will ask if the applicant was ever convicted of a crime. DWI is a misdemeanor offense in North Carolina and would need to be disclosed.

The policies of the university or college and the severity of the DWI charges will affect how the conviction could affect the decision of whether to approve an application. The college could make one of these decisions:

  • Deny the application. If the college has a strict policy against any convictions for DWI, they could deny an individual’s application. However, most do not have such a firm rule, especially if this is the first conviction for drinking when driving.
  • Consider the conviction. The most common effect of a DWI conviction is that the college admissions department would consider it when deciding whether to accept or reject the application. If a student is applying to a university that gets many more applications than spots available for the upcoming year, it is more likely that the conviction will negatively affect their ability to be admitted.
  • Ignore the DWI. Some colleges may have a policy of not considering a past DWI when deciding whether to accept a student.

Will You Be Expelled If You Are Arrested for DWI While in College?

It is unlikely that you would be expelled from college if you are convicted of DWI and it is your first offense. If you have prior DWI arrests, other convictions or were found guilty of a felony DWI crime, expulsion may be more likely.

However, you may be placed on probation, depending on the school’s policies. You could face expulsion if you are convicted of another DWI or other crime, violate the college’s rules and policies, or do not maintain a certain grade point average.

Can a DWI Conviction Have an Impact on Financial Aid?

Being found guilty of DWI could impact your ability to obtain a scholarship or financial aid. If you are already enrolled in college, you may have a duty to report your conviction and could lose your scholarship and financial aid. In addition, you may have to move if you live in campus housing.

Contact a DWI Attorney in Charlotte

Were you arrested for DWI in Mecklenburg County? You may have strong defenses that could result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious outcome—even if you are guilty of DWI.

If you want to fight the charges you face and achieve the best possible outcome given your situation, you need the help of an experienced DWI lawyer. To learn about our track record of success in defending clients like you and how we can assist you, call our Charlotte office to schedule your free consultation today.


Our Approach To DWI Cases

Simply being charged with DWI in North Carolina often results in your driver’s license being revoked for a minimum of 30 days. However, we can typically get your driving privileges reinstated almost immediately. We do this by either, first, challenging this civil license revocation, or second, getting you a limited driving privilege.
Defend My Case
Whether you realize it or not, a considerable amount of evidence exists regarding your DWI charge, much of which is vital to an effective defense of your case. We will review your court file, subpoena necessary documents, videos, and notes, and file the appropriate pretrial motions in a timely manner.
Defend My Case
As former prosecutors, we are aware of all the potential defenses that may be available to you. We do not automatically assume you intend to plead guilty and face the harsh consequences associated with a DWI conviction. We pledge we will examine every possible defense and take your case to trial if it is in your best interest.
Defend My Case
While it’s our goal to win every DWI case we have, it’s simply not possible for any attorney to win every time. If you are ultimately convicted of DWI, we will help you take every step possible to reduce the potential penalties, such as avoiding jail time, keeping you driving, reducing monetary costs, and more.
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