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 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 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.