College is an exciting time for young adults who are experiencing newfound freedom along with responsibility as they live away from home for the first time. However, with underage drinking and use of drugs such as marijuana relatively frequent on many college campuses, some students will find themselves facing drug charges.

Drug charges in college can be frightening for a number of reasons, one of the most prominent being the question of how the charges will affect the student’s future. If you are a college student facing drug charges, or if you are a parent of a student facing charges, read on to learn more about the possible consequences, as well as how to mitigate them.

Impacts of drug charges on future

Every case and every situation is different, but one thing is certain when it comes to drug charges: The potential consequences can continue long into the future. Drug convictions can carry heavy penalties, including fines and even jail time, depending on the particulars of the arrest. In terms of impact on a student’s college career, disciplinary action including expulsion could take place, and financial aid may also be at risk. A conviction goes on a criminal record, which could affect employment opportunities both in the present and future.

Ways to mitigate possible impacts

There is no question that if police arrested you on drug charges, or if you are the parent of a student whom police arrested, your first step should be to contact a qualified criminal defense attorney who handles college student cases. A lawyer can advise you on your rights and also thoroughly examine the particulars of your arrest. Police may have conducted an unlawful search. A skilled criminal defense attorney knows how to determine whether this occurred, and if so, can argue in court to suppress evidence that was unlawfully obtained.

Drug charges can lead to a conviction, and as a college student, this can have a severely negative impact on your future. With so much at stake, you should not leave anything to chance. Find a criminal defense attorney who knows how to defend college students facing drug charges so you can have the best possible chance of avoiding severe consequences. A strategic defense can help you carve out a path to the future.