Can I Be Expelled From College For a Drug Crime Conviction?
Our society has made it seem like college students are getting drunk and high at parties all the time as part of the process of having a good time. In reality, it is illegal for most college students to drink alcohol and a crime for all of them to be doing drugs. They could be arrested and sent to prison, depending on the severity of the offense. However, the consequences could affect your education, as well. Can I be expelled from college for a drug crime conviction? The answer is yes, you could be.
What Happens If Campus Security Arrests Me for Having Drugs?
There is a saying that what happens on campus stays on campus. In reality, you’re not going to be protected from every potential consequence. Schools can and should refer rape charges to the police instead of holding Title IX tribunals and trying to handle it internally. However, they often handle minor drug possession charges internally in an attempt to protect students. This is especially true of small private universities, whereas large public schools are more likely to refer issues to the police. A public university is much more likely to have security staff who are sworn police officers; in these cases, school security finding you with drugs is legally the same as a cop on the street finding you with weed.
One study found that of 14,000 private school students disciplined for illegal drug possession, less than 2,000 were referred to the police. Hard drugs were overwhelmingly referred to the police, while casual drinking and cannabis use rarely was.
What Happens If I’m Arrested by Police for a Drug Offense?
Police can issue a ticket or arrest you for drug possession. In general, a minor offense involving cannabis will involve a ticket and fine instead of spending six months in prison. However, the school itself has a variety of ways to punish you.
Many schools give someone disciplinary probation and a suspension of rights for a first offense if it is not a severe one. For example, getting arrested with a joint may cost you your campus job and your ability to be on the swim team but not get you expelled. They may offer rehabilitation via counseling and unpaid work on campus. They may ban you from campus housing or participation in any extracurricular activities.
A second drug offense can result in suspension or expulsion. A third offense with drugs will typically result in expulsion. If you’ve been found guilty of illegal drinking, they may count that as a first or second strike and use the new drug conviction to expel you.
If minor possession is treated as an internal offense, know that distribution of controlled substances will always be treated harshly. A school that gives minor internal punishments for smoking a joint or drinking a beer will crack down hard if you’re selling these things to other students.
What About Vaping?
It is illegal for someone under 21 to vape. School officials have cracked down hard on vaping because it can be hard to tell whether someone is smoking tobacco or cannabis. Yet, legally, there is a major difference. A 19-year-old vaping tobacco has committed a misdemeanor, while vaping THC is a felony. School officials that can’t tell the difference may call in the police to determine if the vaping pen contains illegal drugs. And you could be arrested and expelled because someone added THC to the CBD oil in the vaping pen. Yes, vaping THC oil can get you hit with a felony. And that will almost always get you expelled from school. Simply possessing THC oil on campus could get you expelled. Possessing other drugs can get you expelled, as well.
Can I Get into Another School If Expelled for Drugs?
Any criminal conviction can hurt your chances of admission. Even a misdemeanor drug charge decreases the odds you’d be admitted to a college. Admission will be based on the school’s policies. However, you’ll almost certainly be denied financial aid due to your drug-related offense. The same would be true if you had a sex-related offense.