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University of Jail

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader

2017-09-03


Editor’s note — this “Legal Matters” column originally ran in FWR #295

The college years are supposed to be some of the best of times. Many students leave college with great educations, wonderful memories and, unfortunately, criminal records. Too many students don’t see the trouble coming—until it’s too late.

Alcohol is the primary contributor to campus arrests. College kids who drink and drink a lot substantially increase their chance of a run in with law enforcement. Drunk driving, public intoxication, underage drinking, possessing false identification, resisting law enforcement and disorderly conduct are some of the offenses seen on college campuses. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, four out of five college students drink alcohol. A 2009 report in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found over 1,800 students ranging in ages from 18 to 24 die from alcohol-related accidental injuries each year.

Drugs are right up there with alcohol when it comes to campus crime statistics. Share a joint or give a buddy some weed and now you are a dealer. The same is true for cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy and all the other street drugs. Prescription drugs like painkillers and ADHD medications are prevalent on college campuses. Possessing drugs or drug paraphernalia, selling them and driving under their influence can lead to game-changing and devastating consequences.

Fighting is another way students find themselves locked up. Drugs and/or alcohol abuse are likely involved with many of these violent altercations that range from bar brawls to domestic battery to sexual assaults.

Many college kids are strapped for cash. Unfortunately, some steal a roommate’s iPad or a bike or food from the store down the street. Depending on the dollar amount, the student can be charged with felony theft. Not easy finding a job with a felony conviction for a crime of dishonesty. Counterfeiting, forgery, and check deception are other ways college kids can blow a huge hole in their future opportunities.

Alcohol and drugs also play a large role in campus mayhem. Pranks, hazing and vandalism are not uncommon ways for college kids to find themselves with a court date. Cyber bullying, stalking and the misuse of social media can also result in criminal prosecutions. The kid who records himself having sex with his girlfriend and then posts the video on line after they break up could be looking at prison time and registering as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

It’s tough to beat the college experience. College students are smart – or they wouldn’t be there. But they need to use those brains not just when they are sitting in class or studying. Millions of kids are heading back to college this month. Thousands of parents will soon be getting calls asking for help bonding out of jail.

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Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you

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