A DUI can have serious consequences, including jail time, fines, and the automatic suspension of your Georgia driver's license. Can getting a DUI also affect your ability to go to school? If you plan on applying for federal or state financial aid, it might. When you fill out the FAFSA or apply for the HOPE Scholarship, you will have to disclose whether you have ever been arrested for drug-related charges. In some cases, you may be required to disclose your DUI.
State and Federal Aid Programs Require Disclosure of Drug Charges
Georgia has a great program to support high school students who are interested in going to college: the Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) scholarship program. Any eligible Georgia high school student can apply to receive financial assistance through the HOPE Scholarship program, which is funded through the state lottery program. In order to be eligible, students must be legal residents of Georgia and in good academic standing. Applicants must also have never been convicted of a felony drug offense for marijuana or another controlled substance.
When you complete the FAFSA to apply for federal financial assistance, you must also disclose certain criminal convictions for drug-related charges. You do not have to disclose convictions that occurred when you were a minor (unless you were tried as an adult) or those that have been expunged. Convictions for selling and/or possessing controlled substances can result in the denial of federal student aid. This can include both misdemeanor and felony convictions.
Drug Charges May Disqualify Financial Aid Applicants
If Georgia and the federal government only care about drug convictions for marijuana and other controlled substances, how can a DUI affect student loan eligibility? There are two primary ways that your DUI can cause trouble: drugged driving and the discovery of drugs in the car.
First, a DUI can be problematic if you are repeatedly pulled over for drugged (rather than drunk) driving. Georgia DUI laws prohibit driving under the influence of drugs or intoxicating substances. While your first three drugged driving convictions will generally be treated as misdemeanors, subsequent arrests will be charged as felonies. It is possible that a fourth DUI conviction could put your eligibility for financial aid in jeopardy.
Second, police may find that you are in possession of a controlled substance when they search your vehicle after a DUI arrest. Even if the DUI itself does not disqualify you for aid, the drug possession charges may.
Fighting DUI Charges in Georgia
Getting a DUI can adversely affect your life in many ways. If you are thinking about going to college, it is important to understand that driving while under the influence of drugs can make you ineligible for both state and federal financial aid programs. Without financial assistance, you may be forced to put your dreams of higher education on hold.
If you have been arrested for a DUI in Georgia it is important to fight any charges you may face. A Georgia DUI attorney can help you protect your future by challenging the validity of any evidence the state may have. Do not hesitate to contact us today for help.