Drug offenses on campus have a curious portrayal in media. The last several decades of movies and TV tend to spin college as the kind of place where drugs just happen. These are kids “experimenting” or “looking for a good time.”
But even though students have their whole future ahead of them, drug charges can hamstring it out of the gate.
Jeopardizing their education
As the Indiana University of Pennsylvania dictates in their student policy, drug charges have serious consequences. Marijuana sees lighter punishments on the first violation such as an individual assessment, an educational workshop and stayed suspension. Further violations risk full suspension and expulsion.
When it comes to other drugs, the campus has a stricter stance where possession elicits suspension on the first violation. If a student distributes drugs, the first violation merits automatic expulsion.
Jeopardizing their future
On top of campus policy, a student is not immune from state penalties. As FindLaw notes, Pennsylvania’s drug possession laws can result in years of prison time. With students considered as adults, possession of even 30 grams of marijuana may earn them up to 30 days in prison and/or a fine of up to $500 with a misdemeanor marking their record. Possession of harder drugs may result in long-lasting felonies with penalties as high as fifteen years or $250,000 in fines.
This can impact a person’s future for decades, let alone the vital years of learning a student has at college. Defenses against drug charges like possession include lack of intent or knowledge, but students insisting they did not know is not the same as proving they did not know.