The vast majority of students who attend college in Pennsylvania are 18 or older, which means that they could be charged as adults if they break the law. For instance, if you are convicted of drug or alcohol possession, you could face penalties such as a fine or jail time. The same could be true if you are convicted of drunk driving, hazing another person or making threats against other students or teachers.
What the law says about alcohol
If you are under the age of 21, you cannot attempt to purchase, possess or consume any quantity of alcohol. An exception might be made if you consume trace amounts of wine or similar substances for religious purposes. You could be charged with drunk or impaired driving if your blood alcohol level is .02 or higher for any reason.
What the law says about drug use
Possession and use of most controlled substances are prohibited with few exceptions. However, those under the age of 21 are typically prohibited from using controlled substances such as marijuana for any reason. If you are found with a significant amount of any type of drug or prescription medication, you could be charged with drug trafficking.
Defending against criminal charges
If you are charged with any type of crime, you have the right to dispute the government’s assertions in court. For instance, you may choose to cast doubt on witness testimony or the results of a drug test as part of a criminal defense strategy. This may also help you obtain a favorable outcome if you are brought up for discipline by your college or university.
A criminal charge or conviction may result in being expelled from school or losing your job. You may also be unable to obtain federal student loans or other resources needed to finish your education or support yourself financially. Therefore, it’s important to consider the consequences of your actions before potentially breaking the law to minimize the risk of obtaining a criminal record.