As students head back to school, jail is probably the last thing on their minds. Unfortunately, many students will end up in handcuffs after making a poor decision. Here’s a look at the top five college student crimes and what you should do if you do find yourself behind bars.
1. Possession of Marijuana
Marijuana is legal in a growing number of states, but Texas isn’t one of them. In Texas, it is still illegal to possess marijuana. While possession of drug paraphernalia is only a ticket, having a useable quantity can land you in jail for up to six months. Amounts as low as a third of a gram have been determined to be a usable quantity. As the quantity goes up, so does the punishment range.
|Possession of Drug Paraphernalia||Class C Misdemeanor||$0-500 Fine|
|Possession of Marijuana Under Two Ounces||Class B Misdemeanor||Up to 180 days in Jail, $0-2,000 fine|
|Possession of Marijuana 2-4 oz||Class A Misdemeanor||Up to 1 year in Jail, $0-4,000 fine|
|Possession of Marijuana 4 oz to 5 lbs||State Jail Felony||180 days – 2 Years in State Jail, Up to $10,000 fine.|
|Possession of Marijuana 5-50 lbs||Third Degree Felony||2-10 Years Prison, Up to $10,000 fine|
|Possession of Marijuana 50-2000 lbs||Second Degree Felony||2-20 Years Prison, Up to $10,000 fine.|
|Possession of Marijuana 2000+ lbs||First Degree Felony||5-99 Years/Life Prison, Up to $10,000 fine|
Shoplifting is one of the most common offenses for which students are arrested. Almost every student accused of theft starts their story off the same way: “I wasn’t thinking, and I never thought I would get caught.” A theft conviction is one of the worst convictions because it is considered a crime of moral turpitude, which could jeopardize scholarships, student loans, housing, and employment opportunities.
|Theft Under $50||Class C Misdemeanor||$0-500 Fine|
|Theft $50-500||Class B Misdemeanor||Up to 180 days in Jail, $0-2,000 fine|
|Theft $500-$1500||Class A Misdemeanor||Up to 1 year in Jail, $0-4,000 fine|
|Theft $1,500 – 20,000||State Jail Felony||180 days – 2 years in State Jail, Up to $10,000 fine|
|Theft $20, 000- 100,000||Third Degree Felony||2-10 Years Prison, Up to $10,000 fine|
|Theft 100,000 – 200,000||Second Degree Felony||2-20 Years Prison, Up to $10,000 fine|
|Theft over $200,000||First Degree Felony||5-99 Years/Life Prison, Up to $10,000 fine|
In Texas, you can be charged with assault bodily injury if you hurt another person. If that person was even slightly injured, you could be looking at a year in jail. If you have that same fight with a police officer, you could be facing up to 10 years in prison.
|Assault by Contact||Class C Misdemeanor||$0-500 Fine|
|Assault Bodily Injury||Class A Misdemeanor||Up to 1 year in Jail, Up to $4,000 fine|
|Assault Public Servant – Bodily Injury||Third Degree Felony||2-10 Years Prison, Up to $10,000 fine|
|Aggravated Assault Deadly Weapon||Second Degree Felony||
2-20 Years Prison, Up to $10,000 fine
|Assault Public Servant – Deadly Weapon||First Degree Felony||
5-99 Years/Life Prison, Up to $10,000 fine
4. Driving While Intoxicated
Being arrested for DWI is a very common charge for college students, especially after a party, football game or a night out in a college town. In Texas, you can be legally intoxicated with any level of alcohol in your system. That’s because the prosecutors have three ways to prove you were intoxicated:
1. Blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater, or
2. Not normal mentally due to the introduction of alcohol into the body, or
3. Not normal physically due to the introduction of alcohol into the body.
The last two definitions mean a person could be intoxicated at almost any blood alcohol concentration. Additionally, if you have any detectable of alcohol in your system under the age of 21, you can be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) even if you are not intoxicated. In Texas, penalty ranges for DWI can depend on your BAC., whether you have priors, and the age of the passengers in the vehicle.
|Driving Under the Influence||Class C Misdemeanor||$0-500 Fine|
|Driving While Intoxicated||Class B Misdemeanor||3-180 days in Jail, Up to a $2,000 Fine|
|Driving While Intoxicated Blood Alcohol Concentration Equal to or Above .15||Class A Misdemeanor||Up to 1 year in Jail, Up to a $4,000 fine|
|Driving While Intoxicated (Second)||Class A Misdemeanor||30 days to 1 year in Jail, Up to a $4,000 fine|
|DWI with Child Passenger||State Jail Felony||180 days – 2 Years State Jail, Up to $10,000 fine|
|DWI Felony (Third or more)||Third Degree Felony||2-10 Years Prison, Up to $10,000 fine|
5. Criminal Trespass
Students are often charged with criminal trespass. This can occur, for example, when a group of students decides to enter a restricted areas, explore abandoned buildings, or return to a location where they have been prohibited.
|Criminal Trespass||Class B Misdemeanor||3-180 days in Jail, Up to a $2,000 Fine|
|Criminal Trespass Habitation||Class A Misdemeanor||Up to 1 year in Jail, $0-4,000 fine|
How Can You Avoid a Conviction and Not Go to Jail?
If you are arrested for any of these college student crimes, it’s important to contact a seasoned criminal defense attorney who has experience negotiating dismissals, no-bills and options that avoid a criminal conviction. Many first time offenders are eligible for diversion programs.
|Outcome||Conviction||Cases||Can the Record Be Sealed?|
|Dismissal||No||All types of cases||Expunction Eligible|
|No Bill||No||Felony Cases||Expunction Eligible|
|DIRECT Diversion Program||No||Drug Cases||Expunction Eligible|
|FAIP Diversion Program||Yes||Felony DWI Cases||No.|
|Veteran’s Diversion Program||No.||Varies||Expunction Eligible|
|DPP Diversion Program||No.||First-time offenders including Theft and Possession of Marijuana||Expunction Eligible|
|Deferred Adjudication||No||All misdemeanors, most felonies||Expunction on Class C offenses, Non-disclosures on everything else.|
Contact a Fort Worth Student Defense Attorney for Legal Help
It’s important realize that, in addition to criminal penalties, college student crimes can also lead to school disciplinary action. That’s why it’s imperative to contact a Fort Worth student defense lawyer as soon as possible. Our skilled attorneys will explain your rights and fight for the best possible outcome. Depending on the charge, first-time offenders may be able to avoid a conviction and keep their record clean. Our team is made up of highly skilled attorneys who have handled thousands of college student crimes and have a proven record of success. Call 817-203-2220 for a free consultation.