Every fall hundreds of new students embark on college campuses around the United States with aspirations of earning a college degree while having the time of their life. It is every parents dream that their sons or daughters grow up to be healthy, happy and successful. Most parents would probably agree that enrollment to a college or university fully indicates that their child is well on their way to success.
The “college years” can be the most influential time in a young person’s life. This is the time when someone decides what they want to do, who they want to be, and how they’re going to do it. This is the time where people change, adapt, and grow into the person they’re going to be. College is a time where life-long friendships and relationships are established, new routines and ideals are developed, and priceless memories are made.
College is also a time of important, and productive decision making. The “college years” are a crucial time in a young persons life where mistakes can be costly to their future. There are potential situations, and landmines all throughout the college experience that can put major roadblocks in the path to a happy, healthy and successful life. Criminal charges, or violating the policies of the University can cause all sorts of trouble for students in regards to their future, or their current enrollment status.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR:
1) Drunk Driving- A drinking and driving conviction on your record can result in hundreds to thousands of dollars in costs and fines. If you thought tuition was expensive- try adding on a few drunk driving charges then add it up. No matter what the circumstance is- a cab ride will always be a better option than getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol. For more information on drunk driving click here
2) Alcohol Charges– If you are under 21 it is illegal for you to consume, possess or purchase any alcoholic beverages. It is college, and it would be credulous to say that college students wait until they are 21 to consume alcohol. With that being the case if you are under 21 and do decide to illegally consume alcohol you can be subject a Minor in Possession ticket (MIP). Additionally if you are of age and consume alcohol be sure to avoid walking around with an open container of alcohol (beer can, red solo cup with alcohol in it, etc). Although some places do allow for open-intoxication most towns prohibit this and you can be subject to an “Open Intox” ticket. There are other tickets for alcohol including purchase for minors, and others. For more information on MIPs click here, for open intox tickets click here
3) Drug Charges- A drug conviction on your record is never a good thing (nor is any conviction). If you are at a party, or with friends and there are drugs present be aware that this could result in a drug charge. This is true for prescription drugs, and “street” drugs. If you are caught with your roommates prescription, or marijuana- you are in possession of illegal drugs or illegally possessing the drug(s). Be sure to avoid circumstances that could put you in a position to get in trouble. For more information regarding marijuana charges click here
4) Nuisance Parties- Crazy enough, attending a party can potentially get you in trouble! So be aware whether you are under the influence or not- attending a party could potentially result in a nuisance party ticket! Be smart when assessing the situation- if the party looks to be getting out of hand then be sure to leave before you risk getting in trouble (No drunk driving)! For more information regarding nuisance parties click here
5) Larceny, Retail Fraud, and others– Among charges that generally involve alcohol or other drugs college students should be aware that theft is another type of crime that makes waves across college campuses. Due to lack of “financial stability” some people resort to stealing from stores or from other students. Students should be aware that despite how desperate the times may be, things could easily get worse with a retail fraud ticket or a larceny ticket. Additionally, embezzlement is another crime that could result in some serious repercussions for a student. Not only could embezzlement cost you a job, it could prevent you from getting one in the future. Be sure to avoid embezzlement at all costs. For more information regarding larceny click here. For more information regarding retail fraud click here.
6) University Policies- Every college or university has their own specific policies in regards to alcohol, drugs, and other types of criminal activity. Be sure to strictly review the resident hall policies contingent to the university you attend. Furthermore, each university has guidelines and policies regarding student conduct and what the university expects from its students. Be sure to review the policies of your university to avoid any potential trouble!
There are, unfortunately, numerous other potential charges that college students should really be watching out for. It would be extremely naive to assume that all college students are going to perfect law-abiding citizens; with that in mind I encourage college students to recognize the importance of their future and the consequences a criminal conviction carries with it. Every college student has the chance to become the next nobel peace prize winner, or next president of the United States. By being aware of potential criminal charges and landmines, college students significantly reduce their risk of getting in trouble.
Have fun, and enjoy your time in college. However, with that being said, keep in mind the potential dangers and situations that are present. Remember, if a college student does happen to pick up a criminal charge during their tenure in college there certain deferrals and or diversions that can allow college students to not have a charge on the permanent criminal history. For more information on deferral or diversion programs click here