Free Consultations | Speak With a Lawyer 24/7 630.261.9098

DUI and Education in Illinois

College is not for the faint of heart. Students endure long days jam-packed with classes, study sessions, and homework. The pressure to keep their grades up, build their resume, graduate and ultimately enter the workforce looms over their heads daily. Not to mention the additional stress that comes with attempting to stay financially afloat without going too far into debt - hence, where the expression “broke college student” comes from.

In such a demanding environment, it's common for most students to party to blow off steam and unwind. After all, if you work hard, there's no harm in playing hard. But it's important to remember that the choices you make while you're out on the town could jeopardize everything you've worked for thus far.

It happens far too often. A student downed two or three drinks while at a bar. They thought they were being responsible by waiting until they felt capable to drive home safely. But before they know it, red and blue lights are flashing behind them and they're in handcuffs for driving under the influence.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Illinois, the first thing you should do is hire an experienced Illinois DUI defense lawyer. A legal professional may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether. Don't underestimate the lasting and damaging impact of a DUI conviction. It can affect your college education and your future career.

Here's an in-depth look at how a DUI can affect various aspects of your college experience.


If you plan on getting an advanced or professional degree, you'll have to apply to schools again. In the application process there will be verbiage that allows for applicants to disclose information about criminal convictions, and sometimes even arrests. At this point, you're faced with two options: to disclose or not to disclose.

Choosing not to inform the school of a DUI conviction is risky. While most schools don't run background checks on each and every applicant because it can be costly, schools do select applicants to check randomly. If you are accepted, and a conviction is revealed later, the school could decide to expel you for withholding information.

If you tell the truth from the beginning, then all your cards are on the table. DUI convictions are not uncommon, especially among young adults. An admissions advisor may be able to look past the fact that you made a mistake and is willing to accept you anyway. But the fact that you decided to disclose this information and didn't attempt to minimize your circumstances can make all the difference between being accepted or denied into the college of your choice.

Overall, we'd say that being honest is the smart choice. But you won't even have to go through this debacle if you fight a conviction, with the help of your attorney, and keep it from tainting your criminal record.

It's important to note that certain specialized career programs that require state licenses, like law school or nursing programs, look down upon criminal convictions. Medical schools and law schools are can even turn people away for minor convictions and even arrests.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Requirements for receiving public and private financial aid and scholarship programs vary from organization to organization. But we've discovered that many lenders will refuse to award financial aid to individuals with serious criminal convictions, such as a felony DUI, on their record.

There are scholarships, however, that specifically cater to students who have been convicted of a crime and are trying to better their career options through school. If you're in the process of seeking financial aid for college and have been arrested, and charged with a DUI, make sure you review program requirements to see the impact of a conviction before entering a plea.

Athletic Programs

Collegiate athletes who commit DUIs undergo sanctions by both the college and their athletic department. Merely being accused of a crime can warrant a suspension from sports activities during an investigation. A conviction may lead to expulsion from the team and even the revocation or modification of athletically-related financial aid.

Student Housing

If you get convicted of a DUI and you live in a dorm on campus, the college may ask you to vacate the premises. Students are required to abide by a strict set of rules to stay in campus housing. And chances are you signed a contract where you agreed that you'd stay out of legal trouble if you wished to remain in your dorm. A DUI is a violation of this agreement at many schools, forcing student offenders to live elsewhere. Also, with a DUI conviction, don't count on being approved for student housing. Most schools are pretty strict about accepting students with a criminal record.

Are You A College Student Who Has Been Charged With a DUI? Act Fast

Many students don't realize how damaging a DUI conviction can be to their college life. Universities and colleges make their own rules for how they deal with the criminal backgrounds of potential students, making the application process and other aspects of your education even more unpredictable.

With DUI cases especially, it is important to review all of your options with an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney. An attorney who understands your educational goals and career path can help you successfully avoid a conviction or enter a plea that minimizes the effects of a DUI on your future.

At Dolci & Weiland we understand what's at stake. You won't have to fight alone with us on your side. To speak with a member of our team, fill out an online case evaluation form or give us a ring at the office closest to you today. The number for our downtown Chicago location is 312-238-9007, for our DuPage office, call 630-261-9098.