The peer pressure to use drugs in college can be overwhelming. Sometimes it feels like everyone has tried drugs. Although this is untrue, statistics show that over half of college students have tried marijuana, over 30 percent have abused Adderall and 10 percent have used Ecstasy or Molly. Abuse of tranquilizers like Xanax and Valium are on the rise, quickly becoming one of the most abused drugs in America. With numbers like these it is easy to see why so many college students find themselves in trouble with the law because of drugs. These five consequences will have a lasting effect on a student’s life.
1. Jail time and fines
If you are charged with drug possession in Pennsylvania then you will have to spend a lot of money on fines and possibly some time in jail. Marijuana laws have become more relaxed recently, but you can still be charged with 30 days in jail and fined up to $500 for getting caught with even a small amount of weed. Medical marijuana patients will be exempt as laws become official, but anyone without a prescription will still be charged.
Possession of other illegal drugs will result in much more serious charges. Getting caught with controlled substances such as Heroin, Cocaine, MMDA, and prescription drugs can result in:
- Up to one year in prison and up to a $5,000 fine
- Up to two years in prison for a second offense
- Up to three years for a third offense
Unfortunately consequences for students go beyond legal repercussions. The effects of having a charge on your record can overflow into school and work.
2. Student aid can be revoked
On top of already costly fines federal student aid can also be revoked. Any students charged with possession of illegal drugs can have their government student aid taken away. This can be devastating for students, especially because more are depending on their own finances rather than parent’s college savings.
3. Academic probation or suspension
Policies for drug use vary for each school and the results are on a case by case basis. It is common for students to get academic probation or sometimes suspension for getting caught with drugs. For example the University of Pennsylvania prohibits any drug use. Drug use on campus can result in a range of disciplinary actions anywhere from a warning to expulsion. The results will depend upon the type of drug, the amount, and if you have repeat offenses.
4. Delayed graduation
College students day dream about the day when they get to throw their cap in the air with their college class. If you miss too many classes due to jail time, probation or suspension then you might not graduate on time. If your charges are serious enough then the college could decide to withhold your ability to graduate until you have complied with rules and penalties.
5. You might get turned down for grad school
Many students look forward to grad school as an important part of their career. Grad schools will ask on applications if you have had a criminal offense. They will also run background checks, scanning for offenses. Some grad schools will turn students down due to a past offense. While others might not turn down students outright, a mark on your record could give someone else a better chance. Fortunately a new pledge was announced by the Obama administration this year leveling the playing field for college applicants with criminal records. Now a large handful of colleges are willing to overlook past records.
The process of an arrest and spending time in jail due to drug possession can be jarring. Many students feel like their future is jeopardized. If you or someone you know has been charged with possession of illegal drugs then contact an attorney experienced in campus crimes right away. They can help reduce the charges which can determine your future in school and in your career.