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College Student Drug Crimes: Campus Policies and Your Rights

By San Diego Attorney on September 10, 2023

Several pills and needles and illicit substances in baggies on a black table.

Being accused of a college drug offense can significantly impact your future. Most colleges have strict rules regarding illegal drugs, whether they are controlled substances, steroids, or illegally obtained prescription drugs. The rules cover the possession, distribution, and manufacture of illicit drugs.

If you are found to be violating your school’s rules regarding drugs, it could affect not only your standing with your college but also your future opportunities for education and employment. Your best course of action is to consult with an experienced San Diego drug crime defense attorney immediately.

How Prevalent Is Illegal Drug Use on College Campuses?

Drug use and misuse by college students has reached its highest rate in years, according to Best Colleges. Drugs commonly used on college campuses include cannabis, hallucinogens, prescription stimulants, tobacco, and nicotine products. Best Colleges reports the following statistics:

  • In 2022, approximately 42% of undergraduate students reported using cannabis in their lifetimes.
  • 1% reported having used tobacco or nicotine.
  • 83% of those who had used tobacco or nicotine in the previous three months reported vaping or using e-cigarettes.
  • In 2018, non-medical Adderall use among college students peaked at 11%.

In a 2022 study, the following percentages of undergraduate college students were found to have used these and other drugs in the previous three months by the American College Health Association (ACHA):

  • Alcoholic beverages – 65.7%
  • Cannabis – 29.8%
  • Tobacco or nicotine – 23.0%
  • Hallucinogens (Ecstasy, MDMA, Molly, LSD, mushrooms, etc.) – 3.5%
  • Prescription stimulants (Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, Dexedrine, etc.) – 2.9%
  • Cocaine – 1.7%

What Are the Policies and Consequences for Drug Crimes on College Campuses?

Most colleges have strict policies regarding the possession, distribution, trafficking, or manufacture of any illegal drug. School-imposed penalties can depend on the school, the circumstances, and the seriousness of the offense. Possible penalties for drug crimes on college campuses include:

  • Formal reprimand
  • Disciplinary probation
  • Fines
  • Loss of financial aid or student housing
  • Mandatory substance abuse evaluation or treatment
  • Temporary suspension
  • Expulsion from the school

Even if you are caught with drugs off campus, any drug violation on your school record could negatively impact your ability to obtain federal student loans or be accepted into educational programs in the future. A college drug offense could also trigger criminal charges prosecuted by the state.

How Can a San Diego Criminal Attorney Defend You Against College Drug Crime Accusations?

Students facing drug-related college investigations or accusations still have legal rights. Your San Diego drug crime defense lawyer can help you navigate the college disciplinary system, advise you of your options, and present evidence to defend you against the allegations. A strong defense may result in the consequences being reduced or the accusations being dropped altogether. Most importantly, it may also prevent the college from reporting the alleged drug crime to the police, which could lead to criminal charges against you.

At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, we have experience working with colleges and universities and can help you protect yourself during an investigation. Our skilled criminal defense team can create an effective defense strategy and help you address every aspect of your case. We may be permitted to speak for you in hearings for an additional layer of protection against potential consequences for your academic career and your future.

The Best at Protecting Your Rights and Future

jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys is headed by James N. Dicks, a board-certified Criminal Law Specialist. As a former police officer and narcotics investigator with more than 30 years of experience, he knows the ins and outs of the justice system and is particularly familiar with drug offenses. Mr. Dicks has been named among the National Trial Lawyers Top 100.

If you are a college student accused of a drug crime in San Diego, contact us today at (760) 630-2000 for a free case consultation.

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