Many college students have the motto: work hard, play hard. Class exams are stressful and require weeks, if not months, of intensive studying. When exams are over, some students turn to partying to relax. Unfortunately, partying can quickly lead to mistakes and legal repercussions. If you get in trouble with the law for drugs, assault, theft, vandalizing or drinking while driving, then you could face the following three potential consequences as a college student.
1. Failed classes or delayed graduation
The first consequences that come to mind for breaking the law are fines and jail time. However, processes in the justice system can take time, meaning you could face time in jail and time in court. If convicted of a crime, you could be sentenced to pay hefty fines, perform community service, probation or time in prison. You may miss class, leading to failed grades and even a delayed graduation. No student wants to spend extra money and time to retake a class, if not several. Seeking help from an attorney early in the process can help mitigate criminal penalties.
2. Campus disciplinary hearings
Universities have their own specific rules and codes of conduct. If you commit a crime on campus, or if you break the code of conduct, the university has the right to hold you accountable. In these hearings your future could be changed. The school has the right to suspend or expel you for breaking their rules. This can be a great threat to students and their families who put significant work and money into an education.
You may also face other penalties at school. For example, the University of Colorado – Denver, has a drug-free campus policy. If you are convicted of possession of an illicit drug, you will not be eligible for any loan, grant, or work assistance under the university for a period of time, depending upon the severity of the offense.
3. Grad school applications may be more difficult
If you get in trouble on campus, or if you are penalized in a campus disciplinary hearing, then it will be marked down in your disciplinary record. Graduate schools look at the disciplinary records of applicants. If you have repeated offenses, then it will hurt your chance at acceptance.
If you are charged with and convicted of a felony offense, then grad school applications will become more challenging. However, the Obama administration lead an effort a few years ago to encourage colleges across the country to eliminate the “do you have a felony?” question from their applications. Acceptance into grad school can also depend on your chosen career path. For example, applying for medical school may be more difficult if you are convicted of a drug offense.
Ultimately, getting in trouble with the law during college should not deter you from seeking an excellent education and career. An attorney can help you mitigate criminal charges, setting you up for an better path to graduation.