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Don't Get Caught With Drugs On Campus

The time between finals and winter break is the perfect time to celebrate. Many students squeeze in one last party before heading home for the holidays. Unfortunately, if caught on campus with drugs - even a small amount of marijuana - there's a chance you won't be able to return to school for spring semester.

A marijuana possession charge can have a real and lasting impact on your life. If you are convicted, you will have a permanent mark on your criminal record. Your future plans may go out the window. Getting into graduate school or getting a government job that requires security clearance will be difficult. If you rely on federal financial aid to pay for school, you will be out of luck. And you could also face expulsion due to your college or university's discipline proceedings.

So, What Should You Do?

Don't plead guilty. Instead, talk to an attorney about probation before judgment (PBJ). PBJ is a program for first-time offenders. As long as you successfully complete a probation program, you will not be convicted of the offense. That means your record will stay clean. When asked if you've ever been convicted of a crime on a job or graduate school application, you will be able to answer "no." Later, you can expunge the charge from your record as well.

What About Your School's Discipline Policies?

Even if you aren't convicted of a drug charge, you could still be facing expulsion or other disciplinary actions at your college or university. Make sure you understand your school's honor code and are prepared for your disciplinary hearing. You may even want to contact an attorney to represent you in front of your school's honor board.

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