Students come from across the state of Texas and the United States to attend college in Abilene. A single misstep in judgment, however, could quickly land a college student in legal trouble. From alcohol violations to disorderly conduct charges, students are subject to Texas criminal laws just like any other Texas resident.

If someone is a student, any type of criminal conviction could subject them to unwanted penalties, including suspension, expulsion, and violation of a school’s code of conduct. However, there are defenses that may be available when faced with an accusation of breaking the law, particularly when there is not a prior history of criminal activity.

When someone who is a student faces a legal violation, they may benefit from an experienced Abilene student defense attorney. Without the advice of a dedicated defense attorney, a person could risk incarceration, fines, and suspension or expulsion from an institution of education.

Common Charges for Abilene College Students

Although many students start college at around the age of 18, consumption of alcohol in Abilene is still typically reserved for those who are at least 21 years of age. Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code §106.05 prohibits students under age 21 from possessing alcohol. Similarly, §106.04 prohibits underage students from consuming alcohol.

Even students who are over the age of 21 may face alcohol-related offenses. For example, providing alcohol to minors with criminal negligence is considered illegal under Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code §106.06. Additionally, college students of any age may face DWI or public intoxication charges.  A knowledgeable defense attorney could help a student who faces such charges by identifying different legal options.

Some other common charges for Texas college students may include the following:

While these can be relatively minor charges, they will generally appear on a criminal background check and often are subject to disclosure on graduate and professional school applications. A first offense may result in deferred adjudication probation, but second or subsequent charges put students at risk of jail time and high fines.

Some arrest records and criminal charges might be eligible for expunction or record sealing, but until that occurs, any arrests, charges, and convictions remain on the student’s record. This is why a student may want to deeply consider consulting with an Abilene student defense lawyer before proceeding to court.

College Disciplinary Actions

While exact regulations and codes of conduct vary widely from one college or university to the next, even a single arrest could trigger disciplinary action against students. Even if charges are never filed, or students are never convicted of the alleged offense, they still may be subject to a range of penalties due to school disciplinary policies.

Those penalties could include disciplinary probation, suspension, expulsion, and a prohibition against readmission. At most school, students who face suspension or expulsion as a result of disciplinary action are allowed to undergo a disciplinary hearing and an appeal process.

An Abilene Student Defense Attorney Can Be an Advocate

As a college student, a person probably wants to avoid arrests, criminal charges, and criminal convictions at all costs. Additionally, they may strive to avoid collateral disciplinary violations that can result from them. However, a moment of poor judgment could subject someone to an arrest or criminal charges.

When this happens, a person is strongly advised to contact an Abilene student defense lawyer. They could review the facts surrounding a case and potentially represent a person in court.