Criminal charges are a stressful experience at any age and station in life. However, they can have far more devastating consequences for those in particular social positions.
Students, especially college students, have increased risk associated with criminal charges, as the effects of a conviction will include more than just the criminal penalties assigned by the court. In fact, there are at least three additional ways in which criminal charges can have a detrimental impact on a college student.
Court proceedings, incarceration and community service can mean missing class
When you pay hundreds of dollars per credit hour in tuition and fees, you want to make the most of your educational spending by being in class for instruction. Unfortunately, a criminal charge can easily impact your ability to attend class and give your education your full focus.
Students facing charges may miss class after their initial arrest, during any court-ordered incarceration, while performing mandatory community service and during their court case itself. Missed class can mean lost knowledge and possibly worse grades.
Criminal charges can affect scholarships and financial aid
Whether you pay for school with a private scholarship, a scholarship through the school, federally subsidized student loans or even educational grants, a criminal conviction might impact your ability to continue receiving certain forms of financial aid.
Some programs even require that students convicted of a crime repay any disbursement for the semester or year when the conviction occurred if they already received the financial aid in full for the year. Other organizations will rescind someone’s scholarship or aid upon notice of the conviction.
Even the federal government will possibly prevent someone from receiving federal student aid for any criminal conviction, especially one involving controlled substances.
Criminal charges could affect your enrollment in school
Many universities, particularly prestigious and competitive ones, have codes of conduct that they expect their students to adhere to. Criminal convictions often violate those codes.
You can find yourself facing disciplinary action, possibly up to the permanent expulsion of a student from the school. Other times, those convicted of a crime while enrolled in school may lose financial aid or the right to participate in extracurricular activities or athletics.
College students facing criminal charges will want to consider not just the criminal penalties but also the secondary consequences of a conviction or a guilty plea.