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As college students enjoy summer break, jail is probably the last thing on their minds. Unfortunately, many students will end up in handcuffs while school is out of session. Here’s a look at the top five college student crimes and what you should do if you do find yourself behind bars.

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.

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, State Jail, Up to $10,000 fine.
Possession of Marijuana 5-50 lbs Third Degree Felony 2-10 Years Penitentiary, Up to $10,000 fine
Possession of Marijuana 50-2000 lbs Second Degree Felony 2-20 Years Penitentiary, Up to $10,000 fine.
Possession of Marijuana 2000+ lbs First Degree Felony 5-99 Years/Life,Up to $50,000 fine*

Theft

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, State Jail,Up to $10,000 fine
Theft $20, 000- 100,000 Third Degree Felony 2-10 Years Penitentiary,Up to $10,000 fine
Theft 100,000 – 200,000 Second Degree Felony 2-20 Years Penitentiary,Up to $10,000 fine
Theft over $200,000 First Degree Felony 5-99 Years/Life,Up to $10,000 fine

Assault

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 Penitentiary, Up to $10,000 fine
Aggravated Assault Deadly Weapon Second Degree Felony

2-20 Years Penitentiary,

Up to $10,000 fine

Assault Public Servant – Deadly Weapon First Degree Felony

5-99 Years/Life,

Up to $10,000 fine

Driving While Intoxicated

Being arrested for DWI is a very common charge for college students. 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 Penitentiary, Up to $10,000 fine

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 to 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 Diverson 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.

Retain a Fort Worth Student Defense Attorney for Legal Help

If you or your child is facing criminal charges in college, call our Fort Worth student defense lawyers for help. 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 817-809-6679 today.