If you get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), there are numerous repercussions that you could face, if you plead guilty or are otherwise convicted of the crime. Some of these repercussions are clear, and are literally written in the laws, such as fines, jail time, and a license suspension. Other repercussions, however, do not appear until later, sometimes even years later, and often come in surprising forms. Nevertheless, these repercussions, often called “collateral consequences,” are in no way to be taken lightly.
One of the many ways that a DUI conviction can hurt you in the long run is on future applications to go to school. Colleges and universities are selective in who they take, and filter out what they think are going to be bad candidates. One of the factors that they take into account is an applicant's criminal background. Having a DUI conviction in your criminal history can hurt your chances of enrolling in the school you want to go to.
DUIs are particularly damaging to applications to go to professional schools, such as law school, or medical school. We dealt with how DUI convictions affect law school applications in a separate blog post. Here, we will deal with how they can affect medical school applications.
Typically, medical schools require that you disclose your criminal history on your medical school application. However, schools differ in what they want you to disclose. Some want to know everything on your criminal record, except for minor moving violations, like a speeding ticket. Other schools, however, only ask for convictions. Be sure to read the disclosure prompt of the application carefully, and then answer it both appropriately, and truthfully.
You should answer truthfully for two reasons.
Firstly, if you lie, or do not tell the whole truth on your application, it will almost certainly be found out, sooner or later. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) provides a host of participating medical schools with a national background check service. Other schools augment this service with background checks of their own. If you are found to have made a false or misleading statement on your application, another section of the application will take effect: The section that says if you do not answer the application's questions truthfully, then you can be denied admission, or expelled from school.
The second reason to answer this application prompt truthfully is that admissions committees are especially concerned with crimes that involve dishonesty, like fraud. These types of crimes show an active willingness to get your own way, regardless of the rules, and a lack of personal integrity – two things that the medical profession wants to stay away from. Trying to cover up a DUI conviction on your application with false statements would be like trying to hide a small error, by making a much bigger one.
Of course, the best way to prevent a DUI arrest from impacting your chances at enrolling in medical school is to not get convicted in the first place. If you are facing DUI charges, and trying to avoid a conviction, or are applying for medical school, and are still worried about your past DUI conviction, call my law office so I can help: (404) 816-4440.