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What challenges do college students face after a drug conviction?

Young people make mistakes, but some of the youthful mistakes they make could lead to serious consequences. For college students, those penalties could be even steeper.

Not only can a conviction impact their job prospects in the future, but it can also limit their chance to pursue their education today. What challenges can accompany drug charges for college students?

What penalties might college students face?

Students charged with drug possession can face fines of up to $1,000. This can strain their already tight budgets and limit their options for enjoying their college experience.

Students might also face up to 180 days in jail or up to 2 years’ probation for even a first possession conviction. Not only are jail time and probation penalties in their own right, but they can also further limit students’ ability to study, pursue extracurricular activities, attend classes and experience college life.

Students may experience additional penalties from their school.

For current college students, penalties for a drug charge may not come from the court alone. Many students might also face penalties from their school for violating their student code of conduct. At the University of Colorado Boulder, for example, these can include:

  • Fines
  • Exclusion from some university courses or activities
  • Required educational workshops
  • Termination of their housing contract or relocation to different housing
  • Suspension or expulsion

In addition to these penalties, students may find themselves facing financial challenges. Many students rely on financial aid to fund their education, and drug charges can take that from them. Even a first offense can lead to two years of ineligibility for federal student aid. Moreover, their merit-based scholarships may be denied as a result of their conduct.

How can students protect themselves?

Because of the impact that even a first offense can have on their lives, students should take steps to defend themselves against these criminal charges. A strong defense and the assistance of an experienced attorney can protect them from the immediate impact of criminal charges as well as the long-term impact to their education and career.