No one wants to face being arrested and charged with drug offenses, but imagine a college student caught on campus. As young adults come of age and try new things, what seems like an innocent night of fun can potentially lead to disastrous and life-altering consequences.
Many questions are swirling through your mind:
What happens if you are charged with a drug crime as a college student? Does it matter if you weren’t on a college campus? What does an arrest mean for your future at school? Will you be kicked off-campus? How might this affect your long-term future? Will your parents have to find out?
Clearly, these allegations are ones that parents and students should take seriously to avoid harsh punishment from school and/or criminal charges. If you are a student or the parent of a student that has been arrested on drug possession or selling charges and also accused of a conduct code violation, you should immediately contact a knowledgeable defense attorney who has experience with keeping students on campus. Here, we explain the potential consequences of drug charges for students on college campuses.
Double the Consequences
All too often in the case of drug charges, students may find themselves in more than on-campus trouble for these serious allegations. Unfortunately, college students may have double the number of consequences following a drug arrest. You will likely be facing charges from the police as well as from your college.
Every institution varies, and colleges have their own set of rules, also called codes of conduct, that students are expected to abide by. Most of these prohibit driving under the influence (alcohol or drugs), illegal drug use, and underage drinking.
You will need to read the code of conduct for your specific college, but most codes of conduct impose probation or expulsion if you are arrested or criminally charged.
Common Code of Conduct violations include:
- Alcohol (DUI arrests may also qualify)
- Drug Violations
- Sexual Harassment and Rape Allegations
- Hate Crimes
- Disruptive Conduct such as obscene language or even public indecency
- On-campus Violence
- Fraud and Forgery
Depending on the severity of the code violation, the school may involve local law enforcement. When facing criminal drug allegations and code of conduct hearings, you need an experienced defense attorney to help mitigate your risks.
State And Federal Drug Possession Laws
College is a time when many young adults may make poor decisions in an attempt to have fun and new experiences. Drugs are becoming a more prevalent problem on campus.
The consequences of a criminal conviction will depend on the schedule of drugs as well as how much of the drug was in your possession. If you allegedly had the intent to sell drugs to other students or are caught on campus with your stash, there are even harsher criminal penalties that may apply. Any drug conviction can result in potential jail time, a permanent criminal record, and other serious penalties.
Illegal substances under both state and federal law are defined within separate categories referred to as Schedule 1, Schedule II, Schedule III, and Schedule IV drugs.
Drug Possession Charges: What’s the Law in Florida?
In Florida, drug possession penalties range from minor misdemeanor charges to felony charges.
These may include:
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – You had an item(s) associated with the use of illegal drugs in your possession. This is typically a misdemeanor charge.
Drug Possession – Penalties depend on what schedule the drug is and how much of the drug was in possession.
See Florida Statute 893.135 here. Of course, drug crimes are not only on the state level. If for example, you crossed state lines with the drugs on the way to campus, you may also face federal charges. Here is a primer on the current sentencing guidelines in Federal court.
Intent to Sell or Distribute Narcotics – This is all about intent; you do not have to be in possession of drugs to be charged with intent to sell. Being in possession of larger amounts of drugs can signal intent to law enforcement, and can result in a lengthy jail sentence.
Drug Trafficking – The most serious of drug charges that could result in 30+ years.
Drug crimes are taken seriously in Florida. Here, criminal drug convictions carry a mandatory minimum sentence based on possession. At the least, such a case could result in a minimum of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Our mission as your defense team is to get the most favorable outcome for your unique case. During a case review with our board-certified Defense Attorney Ben Stechschulte, we can help you understand your best possible defenses. Call us now.
Code of Conduct Violation Hearings
In a typical criminal court case, the prosecutor must prove that what you did was beyond a reasonable doubt. This is also known as the burden of proof or standard of proof.
Unfortunately, if the drug charges occurred on campus and your college accuses you of violating the code of conduct:
- There is no standard burden of proof.
- You can be found guilty of violating the college’s code of conduct with minimal evidence.
- You may not be allowed to have an attorney present, as you would during a criminal case.
Those accused of campus conduct standards violations are in a difficult position, which is why the guidance of an experienced criminal attorney is critical to the outcome of the case. As your defense, our main priority is to avoid arrest and then we’ll focus on helping you remain in school.
At Stechschulte Nell, we understand the unique circumstance that criminal charges can have on your college future. As your attorney, we:
- Advise students on how a felony conviction can negatively impact their future.
- Cooperate with Title IX investigators without putting our clients at risk for arrest.
- Advise clients to not answer questions asked by Title IX investigators *As in traditional court cases, anything the student says could result in suspension, expulsion, or additional criminal charges.
Should the case go to on-campus standards hearing and/or police plan for criminal prosecution/arrest, Attorney Ben Stechschulte will diligently defend your case. It is our goal to show that you should not be removed from your university and/or arrested for a drug crime.
Facing campus code violations and criminal charges are understandably scary situations for students and their parents. If you have been accused of a drug-related crime, call Stechschulte Nell to review your case.
Loss of College Privileges
If you are able to remain on campus under probation and not be expelled, you could still face other consequences following your drug arrest.
If charged for drug possession or distribution, your college may no longer allow you on a sports team, in social clubs, or to remain a member of a fraternity or sorority. If you have a scholarship, you may be in jeopardy of losing that, too.
Again, each college handles probation differently, so you will need guidance on your unique case to achieve the best outcome on campus and off.
Faced with Drug-Related Charges While on Campus?
This situation is considerably more difficult because it also can alter academic careers and the course of your future. If you, your son, or your daughter face drug-related charges as a college student, contact the attorneys at Stechschulte Nell immediately.
Call today, (813) 280-1244, and schedule your free consultation. Our attorneys are ready to represent you on the drug charges in court and with your college in any way we can. At our firm, you will receive personalized, one-on-one representation. Our top-rated Tampa, Florida defense lawyer will do everything possible to keep you in college.