Pennsylvania State University recently resumed classes and this year's incoming freshman class of nearly 8,600 students is among the largest to ever be welcomed into the Penn State community. For freshmen, the first year of college is marked by many other firsts as they attempt to navigate and balance burgeoning academic and social lives.
For the majority of these 18 and 19 year olds, their first year of college is also the first time they are living on their own and away from their parents and families. While many first-year students relish this independence and freedom, some make mistakes. From experimenting with drugs to engaging in risky behaviors, for college students a criminal conviction can have significant and often unforeseen consequences.
For College Students, A Criminal Conviction Carries Hefty Penalties
College students who are convicted of property crimes, DUIs or drug or sexual offenses will face criminal penalties which may include:
- Time behind bars
- Costly fines
- Mandatory drug or alcohol education or treatment
- Suspension or revocation of driver's license
Additionally, penalties that may impede a college student's ability to stay in school include:
- Suspension from college
- Expulsion from college
- Loss of academic / athletic scholarships
- Other disciplinary action
- Loss of student aid
Will I lose my student aid?
College students who are convicted of drug or sex offenses may have their student aid suspended or revoked. 2014 statistics show that nearly 60 percent of undergraduates at Penn State rely upon student loans to finance a portion of their tuition. If you or your child is one of them, think about what would happen if that money was suddenly gone?
Obtaining legal help
If you are a college student or the parent of a student who is facing criminal charges, it's important to obtain help from a criminal defense attorney who has experience representing college students. A defense attorney will thoroughly review the facts of a case to determine the best strategy and defense with the ultimate goals of winning a dismissal or reduction in charges and preserving a student's ability to remain in school and obtain a college degree.