Do DUIs Affect Aid?
Being convicted of a crime can affect you in many areas of your life. Long after you have served your sentence, you can face discrimination and disqualification from opportunities in your life down the road. One very important opportunity is student financial aid.
Certain criminal convictions can affect a student's financial aid eligibility. But not all types of aid will be affected by a student's criminal history. Specifically, federal financial aid isn't affected by all convictions. This includes grants and loans issued by the government. A DUI conviction alone will not affect a student's eligibility for this type of financial aid.
Federal vs. Institutional Aid
While federal financial aid will not be affected by a DUI conviction, institutional financial aid issued by a college, university, or private or public organization is a little different. Each institution or organization may have different policies on how a DUI conviction or any criminal conviction will affect aid. Many applications for institutional financial aid do not include a criminal background check, but some do. Likewise, some institutions
will consider a student's moral standing when making a decision on financial aid. So, even if you are not disqualified for a criminal conviction, it can still hurt your chances of being granted aid. Check with the specific institution you are seeking aid from for eligibility requirements. As with federal financial aid, not all criminal convictions will affect your institutional aid.
What Does Affect Federal Aid?
Although a DUI conviction alone will not affect a student's federal financial aid eligibility, certain drug-related offenses and sexual offenses can. For example, your eligibility may be suspended for a period of time if you are convicted of a drug-related offense while receiving federal financial aid. And, if you are convicted of a sexual offense and are subject to an involuntary civil commitment, you are ineligible to receive a federal Pell Grant.
If you are wondering how your federal financial aid will be affected by one of these types of convictions, file your FAFSA. The FAFSA will include a worksheet that will ask questions about your conviction. This should help you determine what types of aid you qualify for and when you can receive them. In some cases, your eligibility can be reinstated after a certain period of time or if you take certain steps, such as completing a drug and alcohol treatment program. These are some of the ways criminal convictions can affect aid, but your financial aid options will also be limited if you are incarcerated in a state or federal prison or in some other institution. Most of these restrictions are lifted once you are released.
So, What Can You Do?
Speak with an experienced California criminal defense attorney if you have questions about DUI convictions and financial aid. Remember; federal financial aid might not be affected, but institutional aid can be. Check with the institution issuing your aid to see if your conviction will affect your eligibility.
There may be steps you can take to reduce your chance of being denied institutional aid for a DUI conviction. Cleaning your record can help your chances of getting institutional aid, but you should speak with an attorney about your options and eligibility before you start the process. An attorney can explain what cleaning your record will do and how it will alter your criminal record. This can give you an idea of what restrictions you may face when applying for institutional aid. An attorney can also help you file a petition to get a conviction dismissed if you are eligible. This can provide many more benefits than just helping your chance of getting financial aid. And, if you are facing drug charges and are worried about how they will affect your federal financial aid, speak with an attorney about your defense options. For students who rely on financial aid to get through school, it is sometimes worth it to fight charges to preserve your financial aid eligibility.
Do you have questions about DUI convictions? Visalia area criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens can assist you with fighting your charges so you can avoid the penalties of a DUI. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, Mr. Martens has handled thousands of cases and has taken over 50 to trial. Attorney Christopher Martens has the skills and knowledge needed to defend your rights. Serving the Visalia and Fresno areas, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can provide expert criminal defense counsel. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.