In this article, we’ll be exploring some of the ways in which committing a criminal offence can hinder your future at university and beyond.
For many, university is the first step towards independence as well as a way of gaining qualifications for a future career. However, it’s also a time for experimentation, leading some individuals down a troublesome path.
Therefore, with the aim of avoiding the necessity of seeking advice from criminal defence solicitors in Birmingham, Bristol, or wherever you live, this article seeks to alert others about what could happen to your future at university if you commit a crime.
What Kind of Crimes Do University Students Commit?
As mentioned in our introduction, university is all about gaining independence away from the prying eyes of parents however, for some, this can lead to behaviour which is influenced by peer pressure. The following are some of the most common crimes committed by university students in the UK:
- Possession of illegal drugs
- Possession of drugs with the intent to supply
- Public order offences such as being drunk and disorderly in a public place
- Damage to public property (for example, during a demonstration or protest)
- Sexual offences
Certain offences, like having cannabis, might lead to just a warning and taking away the drug. But for more serious actions like sexual abuse or selling Class A drugs, the consequences can be much worse. These might include a fine, community service, or even going to jail.
How Can Committing a Criminal Offence Hinder Your Future at University?
Depending on the severity, committing a crime can have a devastating effect on your future at university. In this section, we’ll be exploring this more.
A Custodial Sentence or Fine
The most severe impact of committing a crime while at university is that it may result in a custodial sentence. A long sentence might mean missing too many classes to graduate or getting suspended. If your offence results in a hefty fine, it could create financial difficulties for you or your parents, making your study situation more financially challenging.
Loss of a Scholarship
In most cases, a university will put in a great deal of thought and research when bestowing a scholarship on a student. When you commit a crime, you are effectively betraying the trust of the university who might, ultimately, decide to withdraw your scholarship. This will mean that you either have to meet the cost of your studies yourself or give up your place at university.
In almost every case, a university’s administration will take a dim view of criminal activity in its students, particularly if that activity brings the university into disrepute. In most cases, the board will choose to impose disciplinary action such as a suspension or even a dismissal depending on the severity and the consequences of the crime.
Reduced Career Opportunities
In a lot of instances, a university student will secure a work placement or internship with a company based on them attaining a certain grade and maintaining reasonable standards of behaviour. Needless to say, if the student is charged with an offence prior to beginning employment with the firm, the offer could be withdrawn.
Furthermore, if the student gains a criminal record, this may limit their employment opportunities following their graduation. For example, somebody with a criminal conviction will almost certainly be prohibited from working with children or vulnerable people.
What to Do If You’re Arrested for a Crime
If you are arrested for any type of criminal activity, it’s important that you gain legal representation as soon as possible. For most students this will mean contacting your parents and letting them know what’s going on – an uncomfortable conversation but a necessary one.
It is also a good idea to contact the university as it’s much better that they hear it from you rather than from the police or hearsay. Where possible, request a meeting and lay out the facts as calmly as possible without making excuses for your behaviour or placing the blame on others.
Committing an Offence at University
We’re constantly being told that ‘everybody makes mistakes’ and, while that is undeniably true, some mistakes are more costly than others. Because of this, it’s important to think about the possible consequences before following the crowd, as even relatively minor offences like having drugs in your possession can have far-reaching consequences. These consequences may not only impact your time at university, but also your future.