College is a time for change and discovery, but when some students flex their newfound freedom, they sometimes get more than they bargained for.
Each year about 4,000 students leave Penn State not just with a diploma, but also with notations of discipline on their transcripts.
Others leave facing criminal records that can follow them as they apply for jobs, loans and graduate school.
Many of the most common offenses involving young adults stem from the abuse of alcohol and drugs, and bad decisions made while under the influence, area police warn.
Heres what local police say they encounter most:
Driving under the influence
In Pennsylvania, the blood-alcohol legal limit is 0.08 percent. For those younger than 21, the state has a Zero Tolerance Law with a minimum blood-alcohol level of 0.02 percent.
Even if its your first DUI arrest, fines can run up to thousands of dollars, and you can expect to lose your drivers license for 30 days to 18 months.
Most first-time offenders are eligible for a probationary program called ARD Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. Those who complete the program, which lasts about a year, can apply to have charges wiped from their records.
If you get ARD and are charged with DUI again within 10 years, however, that first DUI charge will count against you when you are sentenced again. A second DUI offense carries a sentence of five to 90 days in jail.
Underage drinking and other summary offenses
You must be 21 or older to legally purchase alcohol in Pennsylvania.
From an underage consumption arrest, think of summary citations such as a traffic ticket, but more serious they carry a fine and no jail time, but a judge can impose community service or counseling as part of the sentence.
Urinating in public, acting disorderly, being drunk in public and underage drinking can all carry fines.
In 2008, state law changed to allow summary citations to be expunged from your record after five years but only if you have one offense. Anymore than that and the charges stick to your record like any other crime.
This is another crime police often see when alcohol is involved. Whether under the influence or not, if you cant keep your hands to yourself, you could be looking at time in the county jail.
Causing serious bodily injury to someone is aggravated assault and could land you behind bars for three to 20 years if convicted.
For simple assault, a less serious offense, you could get probation, but some are sentenced to time in the county jail.
In many cases in which a single punch is thrown, charges may be reduced to harassment citations that result in fines.
Drug use or possession
Whether you are caught passing a joint or with a smoking pipe in your pocket, police take possession of illegal drugs seriously.
Cases involving possession of personal amount of marijuana, or of devices used for smoking, often end with ARD or probation.
But those caught dealing drugs, even just passing something to a friend, can be charged with a felony and sentenced to a mandatory two years in state prison under a state law passed to discourage dealing near schools, including universities.
Much of downtown State College and all of the University Park campus are in a school zone under the law.
Many times, those accused of sexual assault say alcohol was involved. Some say they cant remember what happened or that they think the sex was consensual.
Under state law, however, an intoxicated woman cannot legally give consent.
Many sexual assault cases end with plea agreements that still call for county jail time, and a charge of indecent assault or aggravated indecent assault on your record.
In addition to legal charges from these and other crimes, the universitys Office of Student Conduct can hand down separate punishment.
Punishments from the Office of Student Conduct can range from a warning or mandated counseling to suspension and expulsion.
Just this year, three students were expelled from the university after being charged with assault stemming from an alleged hazing incident.
In addition to facing ongoing criminal proceedings, the students must wait an entire year before they can apply for reinstatement to Penn State.
Two of those students, who were set to graduate, cannot receive their diplomas until they are reinstated.
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