Harrisburg/York Criminal Defense Attorney Reflections: College Students Experience Freedom and Choices with Criminal Consequences
Going to college represents a major transitional stage in the lives of those who experience it. For many, it is the first time living outside of their parents supervision and authority for a substantial period of time. This new-found freedom offers the opportunity for young adults to exercise their own discretion in making life choices and experimenting with it.
It is often seen as a right-of-passage to party and explore what life has to offer without the constraints of the real world. It is a part of college life, right? Yes, in part. Unfortunately, for those who choose to push the boundaries even with the best of intentions, the laws of the real world still apply and your choices could carry criminal consequences.
Whether at a dorm, apartment, or fraternity, the opportunity to drink alcohol is readily available. However, college students are not the only people privy to this fact. Your RA, as well as campus and local police, know this too. As a result, those policing underage drinking are always looking for a party or partygoer to investigate. Thus, if you are at a drinking party or on your way home from one, the police will be watching for signs of impairment. Should you get arrested, the consequences for underage drinking are real.
Physical and Sexual Assault
For anyone, college student or otherwise, our judgment and perceptions are impaired by the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs, especially at high levels. When a person achieves a highly intoxicated state, people sometimes make choices and act in a manner inconsistent with their normal conduct. As a result, good people in an impaired state may engage in assaultive behavior due to factors, such as, their own intoxication, the environment and peer pressure.
If you have ever been at a college party or two or a main thoroughfare on a weekend, you’ve probably seen a fight. However, you may not realize that, depending on the level of a person’s active participation and injuries to the other person or people, you could be charged with a crime of Simple Assault or Aggravated Assault. Further, upon conviction, you could end up with a permanent criminal record, fines, probation, and even jail or state prison time.
Similarly, a person in a drunk or intoxicated state may find themselves seeking the affections of another. Due to impaired judgment and perception, one may not realize that the feelings are not mutual and things can go to far. Other times, both parties in their jointly impaired state may be on the same page at that time. However, the next morning one of the two may be second-guessing their judgment and exploitations of the night earlier. In either scenario, a report of a sex crime could be filed with the police and you could face criminal charges. The penalties for a sex crime can change your life permanently.
Drug Possession and Delivery
As stated earlier, for some people, college is seen as a time for experimentation. Consequently, college students may choose to experiment with drug use, whether it be marijuana, cocaine, ecstacy, hallucinogens, or otherwise. For those who choose to engage in such activities, there are risks — being charged with a drug crime.
While experimental use of drugs may seem harmless or innocent at the time, you are subjecting yourself to criminal consequences. If you are using drugs at a party, the party could be raided. If you are buying drugs, the police could be investigating the dealer or the “dealer” could be working with the police. If you are driving in a vehicle and in possession of drugs, you could be pulled over for a traffic violation and the drugs could be discovered. In any of these scenarios, you could be charged with Drug Possession and subject to the penalites for Drug Possession.
Additionally, there are instances where those who experiment with drug use become “drug dealers.” However, many who end up this position do not perceive themselves as such. Instead, it may be a way to pay for their own drug use to party and/or make a buck or two on the side. Unfortunately, you don’t have to reach the level of “Tony” Montana from the movie, “Scarface,” to show up on the police radar and be charged with Drug Delivery or Possession with the Intent to Deliver (PWID). Moreover,the consequences can be serious and negatively impact the rest of your life.
If you are charged with any of the above-crimes or otherwise, you could face real, substantive consequences. However, with an experienced and knowledgable PA Criminal Defense Attorney, you will be better able to assert your rights and protect your interests.
To that end, we will engage in a thorough evaluation of your case, identify your objectives, and develop an individualized strategy to specifically address your goals. For example, if evidence was seized pursuant to a search by police or a statement was obtained from you incident to an interrogation, we may file a motion to get the evidence suppressed or thrown out. Alternatively, if your objective is to minimize the consequences and your charges and other factors are appropriate, we may seek an alternative disposition to avoid a conviction and criminal record, such as, ARD.
The best way to mitigate, if not eliminate, the criminal consequences you could face if you have been charged with a crime is to contact an attorney at the earliest possible stage. The earlier we are involved, the better we are able to control the process and protect your overall interests from beginning to end. Contact us today for a free, initial phone consultation.