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College is, among other things, a place for learning. But the lessons to be learned in college aren't all contained in textbooks or lectures; they're sometimes learned the proverbial "hard way." And what harder way to learn the limits of socially acceptable behavior than to be arrested?
Here are 10 really dumb ways that college students can get themselves arrested:
- Drinking. Even the most studious college student is tempted to indulge in that time-honored tradition of college-party drinking, which is perfectly legal... if you're over 21. If you're an underage underclassman, you may be charged with minor in possession if you're caught partying.
- Using a fake ID. For some college students, the solution for not being old enough to legally drink is to get a fake ID. But using a fake ID can result in criminal charges far more severe than minor in possession.
- Drinking and driving. Police departments in college towns are increasingly cracking down on drunken driving. Case in point: the "Safe and Sober" enforcement campaign coinciding with the start of fall classes at Arizona State University has netted dozens, if not hundreds of DUI arrests year after year.
- Hazing. Many students also get caught up in the supposed "tradition" of hazing. But more than 40 states now have laws specifically dealing with hazing, and schools are taking a hard line following a number of high-profile deaths and injuries linked to hazing incidents.
- Pulling pranks. Playing pranks may be a good way to get a few laughs, but when your prank sends three people to the hospital -- like the Colorado University students who fed pot brownies to unsuspecting classmates and a professor -- you're going to be laughing all the way to the police station.
- Pot possession. Aside from being an ingredient in a half-baked prank idea, marijuana can also still lead to serious criminal charges in many states, even as it's been decriminalized and legalized in others. And a reminder: Even in states where it's legal, you still can't smoke weed in public; it's also a dumb way to get busted for a DUI.
- Bomb threats. Being nervous about an exam is understandable. Calling in a bomb threat to avoid having to take an exam is not understandable, or legal.
- Theft. Bullies who beat up other students for their lunch money (or laptops) may be considered a disciplinary problem in middle school, but on a college campus robbery or any other theft will definitely get you arrested, even if you're an Alabama football player.
- Revenge porn. Jilted young lovers might be tempted to post "candid" photos of their ex online. But so-called "revenge porn" can lead not only to civil lawsuits, but also criminal charges in some states.
- Illegal downloads. College students typically can't afford to just go out and buy all the cool new music they're being turned on to by their friends, so why not just pirate it off the Internet? Thousands, or even potentially millions of dollars in criminal penalties, that's why not.
For college students (or the parents of one) facing criminal charges, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help lessen the long-term impact of an arrest by negotiating with prosecutors and defending you in court if necessary.