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4 common college student offenses

If you’ve recently sent your son or daughter off to college, it’s important to advise they use their new-found freedoms responsibly.

After all, college is meant to help them become more employable — not less. Remind your child to be caution of the law by staying aware of these common college student offenses.

DWI/DUI

Though most college students won’t reach the legal drinking age until at least the latter portion of their college career, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an issue for college students.

Pennsylvania law imposes serious penalties for this offense, including a $500 fine and license suspension for 90 days on the first offense.

Possession

Driving while under the influence is dangerous and against the law, but so is simple possession of alcohol while under the age of 21. This violation can result in summary offense charge. Summary offenses are traceable on your criminal record and can be punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine between $25 and $1,500.

For the possession of an illegal drug, charges may carry hefty fines and significant jail time penalties, depending on the type and amount of the drug. If your child is facing drug possession charges, they should seek the help of a criminal defense attorney immediately.

Disorderly conduct

Small get-togethers can easily become not-so-small get-togethers on any sized campus. Large social groups often lead to disorderly behavior, such as fighting, threatening, using obscene language or making an unreasonable amount of noise.

A disorderly conduct violation can result in a summary offense or misdemeanor charges, depending on the circumstances. Misdemeanor charges are punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a fine up to $2,500.

Theft

College students have been known to commit shoplifting or theft crimes, especially while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Penalties for theft depend on the value and amount of what was stolen. If the good or service stolen is valued less than $50, a student may be charged with a summary offense.

What to do if you’re in trouble

Let your child know that if he or she has questions or would like to discuss pending charges, a criminal defense attorney is the best resource for advice. An attorney can draw on legal knowledge, past experiences and proven defense strategies to help your child.

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