It only takes one mistake for a college student to end up accused of some kind of drug offense. Simple possession charges could result if someone gets caught possessing certain substances or while under the influence.
On the other hand, if there is reason to suspect that someone has sold drugs to others, a student might face more serious charges, like drug trafficking accusations. Even someone who shares medication with others with no financial compensation could potentially face distribution or trafficking charges.
To properly defend against or avoid drug-related charges, students need to understand what could lead to their arrest. What do college students and their parents need to know about drug charges?
1. A guilty plea can lead to a lifetime of regret
Despite changing social attitudes about drug use, many people still feel strongly about prohibition policies and the necessity of adhering to them. A single youthful drug offense can permanently limit a young adult’s future opportunities in life.
Every employer and institution of higher education will see that criminal offense on the student’s background check unless they are eligible to seal or expunge those records.
2. Drug charges often have educational consequences
Many institutions of higher education have strict policies about drug use on campus. If a student gets arrested for a crime at school, that could trigger disciplinary action by the college.
Similarly, a conviction for an offense, even if it occurred off campus, might also lead to disciplinary efforts by the school itself, its honors program or its financial aid department. Additionally, drug convictions can affect student aid eligibility.
3. Technically legal medication can still lead to charges
Most college students thinking about drug offenses will think about recreational substances that people frequently abuse, like methamphetamine or party drugs. However, a large number of college students accused of a drug offense actually face allegations related to controlled substances, not necessarily prohibited ones.
Stimulants prescribed for ADHD and narcotic pain medication are among the legal prescription substances that can still lead to criminal charges for college students. Possessing those medications without a prescription for giving them to other people could lead to a student’s arrest.
The average college student will benefit more from developing a thorough defense strategy rather than simply pleading guilty and hoping no one finds out about their charges. Reviewing the case against you can be a good starting point for developing a criminal defense strategy when facing drug charges as a college student.