Young adults often struggle to balance college coursework with their sudden freedom from parents and their new social lives. In many cases, this newfound freedom can result in poor choices that sometimes have criminal consequences. For college students who become involved in legal troubles on and off campus, a Richardson student defense lawyer may be able to offer legal advice and representation.

The repercussions of even a minor criminal charge can be devastating to your academic success and your future professional prospects. From criminal proceedings to university disciplinary hearings, you may need a criminal defense attorney to represent you in order to achieve a positive result.

Alcohol-Related Offenses

While college students may commit any of the same criminal offenses as other adults, underage alcohol-related crimes are some of the most common. Although drinking may be a typical college pastime for many students, possession of alcohol is still illegal for anyone under the age of 21.

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is also a common criminal offense for individuals under the age of 21. Other common alcohol-related offenses include:

  • Purchasing or attempting to buy alcohol
  • Consumption or possession of alcohol
  • Misrepresentation of age, usually by using a fake ID
  • Public intoxication

A conviction on any of these charges could result in a permanent criminal record, fines, community service hours, probation, suspension of driving privileges, or even a jail sentence. Furthermore, these charges may trigger college disciplinary proceedings, which could have entirely different—and severe—consequences.

Other Criminal Charges for Students

The offenses students may face in college are not all alcohol-related. Law enforcement authorities often arrest students for the following criminal offenses:

  • Possession of marijuana or other controlled substances
  • Assault or sexual assault
  • Reckless driving
  • Theft

Any of these crimes can have serious ramifications for students. Even worse, a criminal record could cause students to miss out on opportunities to advance their future careers, as prospective employers and graduate or professional schools may be reluctant to accept students with criminal backgrounds.

Conduct Code Violations

All institutions of higher education maintain a conduct code that students must follow as a condition of enrollment. While specific rules may vary, they typically require that students refrain from illegal activities and follow pre-established guidelines. As such, arrests or criminal charge can and often do result in college or student conduct code proceedings.

Students typically do not have the same rights in these proceedings as they do in criminal cases. For example, students often must prove that their actions did not violate their school’s conduct code, whereas in criminal proceedings individuals are innocent until proven guilty.

Student conduct code proceedings can also involve matters that are not illegal under state or federal laws. These violations might include:

  • Plagiarism or academic dishonesty
  • Breaking dormitory rules
  • Obstruction of university activities
  • Hazing

These situations can lead to severe consequences under a college or university student conduct code, with potential penalties including academic probation, suspension, loss of academic credits, ineligibility for student athletics or activities, or even expulsion. For students involved in college disciplinary proceedings, a student defense attorney in Richardson may be able to provide important advice and counsel.

Contact a Richardson Student Defense Attorney for Advice

For college students, running afoul of the law can have harsh consequences. Rather than allowing a single mistake to dictate your future, consider calling on a Richardson student defense lawyer for advice.

When you get the legal help you need and deserve, you may be more likely to resolve your situation positively. Rather than trying to go it alone and hoping for the best, take steps to impact the outcome of your case by retaining legal counsel today.