College Student Crimes (and how they can affect your student loans or worse)

A college student in the Tidewater area must be very careful to avoid criminal charges while they are in school. Criminal convictions are honor code violations and can lead to admonition, suspension or even expulsion. In recent months there have been arrests at Norfolk State University, Hampton University, and notably at Old Dominion University.

It is important for a college student to be aware of several key points. First, criminal records last forever. Many young people falsely believe that their record of conviction will go away after a number of years. Other rumors suggest that a conviction can be expunged. This is also not true. A Virginia criminal conviction will last forever and can have a severe impact on a young person's ability to get future employment.

Next, there are several common crimes that college students face. In my fifteen years of criminal law practice I find that college students often are accused of petit larceny (shoplifting), underage Possession of Alcohol (Va. Code 4.1-305), Drunk in Public (Public Intoxication Va. Code 18.2-388), DUI (VA Code 18.2-266.1), possession of marijuana (VA Code 18-2-250.1) possession of a fake ID (Va. Code 46.2-346). These crimes may seem innocuous because some young people think that everybody commits these actions. Convictions of these offenses have severe consequences for the following reasons:

Most alcohol and drug related crimes require a six to twelve month suspension of driving license. Also, under the Higher Education Act, students become ineligible for federal student loan money upon conviction of any offense involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs. Federal loans include Federal Pell Grants, Federal Stafford Loans, Federal PLUS loans, Federal Work Study, and Perkins loans. Fake ID and larceny crimes are considered crimes of moral turpitude and can affect future employment especially if seeking a career that requires governmental clearance.

Strangely college students frequently do not think criminal offenses are a "big deal." They try to hide the offense from their parents at the expense if their future. Alternatively, they mistakenly think that as a first offense the consequences cannot be serious. College students are the future leaders. Unfortunately, immature decision-making ability and peer pressure can prevent specific individuals from achieving their goals. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid these results. If you or a loved one is accused of a criminal offense while in college, it is imperative that you contact a qualified attorney with years of experience.
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