For many young people, college is the first time they really have a chance to get out, become independent, and experience what the world has to offer for themselves. While this is a time of growth and increased personal responsibility, some people lose track of their newfound freedom and push things a little too far, finding themselves running into trouble with the law. As such, there are certain criminal accusations that are not all that abnormal for college students.
On this blog, we’ll take a look at five of the most common crimes college students find themselves facing, including some common examples and the penalties for each of them.
Minor in Possession
College and parties go together like bread and butter: it’s almost impossible to find one without the other. Many of these parties include an abundant supply of alcohol, and while this can encourage a flourishing social atmosphere, almost none of these parties screen their guests for the proper age identification, let alone stop their underage guests from also partaking.
It’s against the law for anyone under the age of 21 to possess alcohol, including having it hidden in their dorm room or carrying it in a bag down the street. Anyone under the proper age could be charged with “minor in possession,” a misdemeanor which will most likely carry a fine. However, because it’s a misdemeanor, it does show up on criminal histories if convicted.
Furthermore, it’s also against the law to possess a fake ID card for the purposes of trying to purchase alcohol. This is also a misdemeanor crime, and someone who is caught in possession of alcohol because of their use of a fake ID card will find themselves in even more serious trouble.
To put it simple, disorderly conduct is acting out in any way that disturbs the public. This can and often does include conduct encouraged by drug or alcohol intoxication, but the key is that it doesn’t require intoxication in order for charges to be levied. Disorderly conduct in a college setting can include running through a neighborhood in the middle of the night to wake everyone up, intentionally disturbing a quiet room or study zone, or even hosting a loud party through the middle of the night.
Disorderly conduct is charged as a misdemeanor, similar to minor in possession. What that means is that while you may not have to spend any time in jail for your first offense, your conviction will still show up on your criminal history.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a crime that almost everyone knows about, particularly those with a driver’s license. And yet, every year a staggering number of people are arrested and charged with this crime. This includes a surprisingly high number of young people, including college students who are trying to get home from a night of partying and refused to get a designated driver.
Drunk driving is an extremely serious charge, which often includes penalties of jail time, license suspensions, heavy fines, mandatory education classes, and much more. Furthermore, many universities and colleges also frown upon this conduct and treat it with the utmost seriousness as well. Some even go so far as to suspend or even expel students who are convicted while enrolled!
Because many young people don’t know how to fully-secure their possessions, college campuses are rife with instances of theft. Some commonly-stolen things can include simple objects like clothes, electronics like computers and cell phones, and even large items like bicycles or sporting equipment. Theft crimes in Florida are usually charged based on the value of the property stolen, which means they can “wobble” between misdemeanor and felony charges. Felony accusations can be extremely serious, and it’s not uncommon for those convicted to face prison time.
Freedom, self-supervision, and alcohol often create an environment that’s liberating in many ways, including sexually. Unfortunately, this also means that college campuses are hotbeds for sexual assault. This issue has gained a lot of traction in recent months in particular, which means any accusations are taken extremely seriously, and those convicted often face serious penalties, both through the justice system and beyond for the rest of their lives.
Unfortunately, sexual assault also has a reputation for a large number of false accusations made by predatory individuals looking to either get back at someone or try to gain power over them. Because these accusations can be so difficult to disprove, we often hear of people whose reputations are tarnished before any due process can be given, essentially meaning the outcome to their case becomes nothing more than a hollow victory.
If you find yourself facing sexual assault charges, or any of these crimes while studying at a college or university, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced and capable Miami criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Call Hager & Schwartz, P.A. today at (305) 330-1360 to request a case evaluation and let our team fight to preserve your rights!