Charlottesville is a great place to live and go to school for tens of thousands of students at the University of Virginia. For many college students, moving away to go to UVA is their first time living away from home. Some activities that may seem harmless can get out of hand, leading to the police being called, especially when drugs or alcohol are involved. Often times these situations are the college students first run-in with the law.
If you have a child in college who was arrested or are a university student facing criminal charges, contact an experienced Charlottesville criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. A criminal conviction could not only result in a permanent record, but it could also impact your child's future education opportunities.
Common Crimes for UVA and Other Virginia College Students
Some of the more common criminal charges for UVA and other college students in Virginia include:
- Assault and Battery § 18.2-57
- Trespassing § 18.2-119
- Shoplifting/Concealment § 18.2-103
- Drunk Driving § 18.2-266 (ii)
- Underage Possession of Alcohol § 4.1-305
- Fake ID to Purchase Alcohol § 4.1-305
- Drug Possession § 18.2-250
- Possession of Marijuana § 18.2-250.1
- Possession with Intent to Distribute § 18.2-248
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia § 18.2-265.3
- Sexual Assault § 18.2-61
- Resisting Arrest/ Obstruction of Justice § 18.2-409
- Disorderly Conduct § 18.2-415
- Public Swearing/Public Intoxication § 18.2-388
Drug and Alcohol-Related Offenses
Some of the most common offenses for young people involve drugs and/or alcohol. Many students under the age of 21 may be caught while in possession of alcohol. This offense is sometimes accompanied by a charge for possession of a fake ID.
Drunk driving and impaired driving is taken very seriously in the Commonwealth. Where the driver is under the age of 21 any amount of alcohol (0.02% or higher) can lead to a DUI arrest. Under-21 DUIs also commonly involve underage possession charges or driving with an open container.
Loss of Driver's License
Many college students rely on a car to get them to and from classes, work, and visiting home on the holidays. A drug or alcohol-related conviction may lead to a license suspension, restricted license, or having to drive with an alcohol testing device installed in the vehicle.
Marijuana and Prescription Drugs
It is not uncommon for students to use what they perceive to be “safer” drugs during college. This includes marijuana, in addition to taking a friend's prescription drug, like Adderall, Xanax, or opioid painkillers like Vicodin. However, prosecutors still take these drug charges seriously. Selling or distributing prescription medications, marijuana, or other narcotics, are felony drug charges.
Other Drug and Alcohol Effects
Many students begin to experiment with drugs or alcohol during their college years. They may not be used to the effect the drug may have on him or her and have problems controlling his or her intake. Even if the crime isn't directly related to alcohol, drinking can lower a person's inhibitions and increase risk-taking related behavior. Impairment can also lead to fights, car accidents, trespassing, vandalism, shoplifting, resisting arrest, or obstruction charges.
College Parties and Being in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time
Innocent students are sometimes charged with criminal offenses for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Having a stranger in your room or apartment or attending a large party can lead to being blamed for some illegal activity. This could include being accused of possession of drugs, serving minors alcohol, or wrongly blamed for assault.
A Criminal Record Can Follow You Long After a Conviction
A criminal charge for most college students will be their first experience with the criminal justice system. Even if it involved a simple accident or one-time mistake, the consequences of any criminal conviction can be serious. A criminal record is not easy to get rid of.
Criminal arrest and convictions are generally public records and can be found using a background check by an employer, property manager, or even a nosey neighbor. Unfortunately, many people will not take the time to get both sides of the story from the individual but will only assume the worst from someone with a criminal conviction.
Expungements are generally only available in limited situations. You may be eligible for an expungement in Virginia if the disposition of your case resulted in the following:
- Acquittal (found not guilty),
- Charge Nolle Prossed (where the Commonwealth withdrew the charges),
- Charge otherwise dismissed, or
- Other rare situations, like situations involving identity theft.
When charges were dismissed after completion of an alternative sentencing program, like a first offenders program or anger management program, the charge may result in a conviction, but the individual is not eligible for expungement.
For person's charged with a crime, the best way to avoid a criminal record is to fight the criminal charges with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
University Disciplinary Measures
Some criminal charges may also result in disciplinary measures from the student's university or college. Disciplinary measures may include suspension, expulsion, or loss of scholarships. Student athletes may also face getting expelled from his or her's athletic program.
Some graduate and other post-graduate programs may also be impacted by a criminal conviction. For example, students applying to law school generally have to report any criminal convictions, such as DUIs or drug possession convictions. An admissions committee may take these criminal charges into account when making a decision whether to admit an applicant.
UVA Student Criminal Defense Lawyer
Students in Charlottesville who are facing criminal charges can benefit from an experienced Charlottesville criminal defense lawyer who understands what is at stake. If your college student was arrested in Charlottesville, talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney about how to fight criminal charges and keep their record clean. Contact attorney me today for a free consultation.