Can a DUI Affect Your Chances of Getting into Law School?

students who graduatedLaw school starts after spending four long years working for an undergraduate degree, and a drunken driving (DUI) offence is likely earned when a person is an undergraduate.

So, does the DUI offence earned during undergraduate days impact your chances of getting into law school? Well, there are many facets to this issue, and let's examine them one by one:

All aspiring law graduates have to pass the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) to get into law school. However, passing the exam is no guarantee that you will be admitted. Before admission is granted, you will have to make full disclosures of your achievements, certificates and also of any criminal/civil cases against you, which include DUI/DWI.

Every law school wants honest and truthful people who are responsible to society. If you have been booked for DUI, it shows that you have been irresponsible at some point of your life. It also gives the perception that you did not care about the lives of others. This makes you a very risky law school candidate, and every law school will become wary of you once they know about your drunken driving.

That said, it depends on the number of DUI offences you have committed. If you have committed just one offence in your teenage years, and have since reformed and not committed any more, then the law school will take a lenient view. However, if you have been booked several times, or are a serial offender, then the law school will consider you a liability.

Before the law school gets a whiff of your DUI offence(s), you must stand up and make a full disclosure. Be honest and courageous and list all your DUI offences, no matter how minor they may be. You must explain what led to each DUI, and how the reform process (counseling, etc.) helped you become a better person.

If your story (or stories) convinces the law school management and if they believe that you have shown improvement and that you are a sincere person who has seriously tackled his DUI problem, then the law school will likely give you admission.

However, if the law school management feels that you still do not have a sense of judgment, or that your way of thinking is criminal, or that you are an irresponsible type who will likely get into many more messes (DUI included) in the future, then the law school will not grant admission. Candidates who are reused admission can always contact a lawyer to check if they have a case.


Yes, a DUI does impact your chance of getting into law school. However, the following factors can help you get into law school despite your offence:

  1. Getting high scores in LSAT and a high GPA.
  2. Giving solid evidence that you have tried your best to reform (attending AA sessions, volunteering) since your last offence (and also in between earlier DUIs).

  3. Being honest and spelling out all your DUIs and informing the management about the factors that led to each offence.

In the words of dlpelletier (an alias), a three-time DUI offender and an aspiring law student, “A DUI can’t be too bad depending on how you dealt with it and disclose it. I’ve got 3 and disclosed them all. I am fortunate though that I was also able to turn it into more by discussing my alcoholism, my time in rehab as well as the clear change in my life since as its been over 4 years I’ve been sober now. Plus it also had standing as to my GPA, 2.5 LSAC but a 4.0 in my major and a 3.9 last 90+ credits, all of which came after rehab. I did well on the LSAT 173 so I am sure that helped as well.

So far been accepted at Washington and Lee and American still waiting to hear from a bunch more schools though.

The DUI won’t disqualify you, but you are I think going to have to show there was growth and something came of it.” [ref.]

Written and published on behalf of Gabriel A. Kidwell, a law student and blogger from Juneau, AK.

If you have any questions, please ask below!