It’s Spring Break and, if you’re a college student, jail is probably the last thing your mind. But unfortunately, many students will find themselves in handcuffs during this week-long break. Here’s a look at the top five college student crimes and what you should do if you do find yourself behind bars.
Marijuana is legal in a growing number of states, but Texas isn’t one of them. In Texas, it is still illegal to possess any amount of marijuana. While possession of drug paraphernalia is only a ticket, having a useable quantity can land you in jail for up to six months. Amounts as low as a third of a gram have been determined to be a usable quantity. As the quantity goes up, so does the punishment range.
|Possession of Drug Paraphernalia||Class C Misdemeanor||$0-500 Fine|
|Possession of Marijuana Under Two Ounces||Class B Misdemeanor||Up to 180 days in Jail,$0-2,000 fine|
|Possession of Marijuana 2-4 oz||Class A Misdemeanor||Up to 1 year in Jail,$0-4,000 fine|
|Possession of Marijuana 4 oz to 5 lbs||State Jail Felony||180 days – 2 Years, State Jail, Up to $10,000 fine.|
|Possession of Marijuana 5-50 lbs||Third Degree Felony||2-10 Years Penitentiary, Up to $10,000 fine|
|Possession of Marijuana 50-2000 lbs||Second Degree Felony||2-20 Years Penitentiary, Up to $10,000 fine.|
|Possession of Marijuana 2000+ lbs||First Degree Felony||5-99 Years/Life,Up to $50,000 fine*|
Shoplifting is one of the most common offenses for which students are arrested. Almost every student accused of theft starts their story off the same way: “I wasn’t thinking, and I never thought I would get caught.” A theft conviction is one of the worst convictions because it is considered a crime of moral turpitude, which could jeopardize scholarships, student loans, housing, and employment opportunities.
|Theft Under $50||Class C Misdemeanor||$0-500 Fine|
|Theft $50-500||Class B Misdemeanor||Up to 180 days in Jail,$0-2,000 fine|
|Theft $500-$1500||Class A Misdemeanor||Up to 1 year in Jail,$0-4,000 fine|
|Theft $1,500 – 20,000||State Jail Felony||180 days – 2 years, State Jail,Up to $10,000 fine|
|Theft $20, 000- 100,000||Third Degree Felony||2-10 Years Penitentiary,Up to $10,000 fine|
|Theft 100,000 – 200,000||Second Degree Felony||2-20 Years Penitentiary,Up to $10,000 fine|
|Theft over $200,000||First Degree Felony||5-99 Years/Life,Up to $10,000 fine|
In Texas, it’s not uncommon for young adults to get into physical altercations. However, you can be charged with assault bodily injury if you hurt another person. If that person was even slightly injured, you could be looking at a year in jail. If you have that same fight with a peace officer, you could be facing 10 years in the penitentiary.
|Assault by Contact||Class C Misdemeanor||$0-500 Fine|
|Assault Bodily Injury||Class A Misdemeanor||Up to 1 year in Jail, Up to $4,000 fine|
|Assault Public Servant – Bodily Injury||Third Degree Felony||2-10 Years Penitentiary, Up to $10,000 fine|
|Aggravated Assault Deadly Weapon||Second Degree Felony|
2-20 Years Penitentiary,
Up to $10,000 fine
|Assault Public Servant – Deadly Weapon||First Degree Felony|
Up to $10,000 fine
Being arrested for DWI is a very common charge for college students. In Texas, you can be legally intoxicated with any level of alcohol in your system. That’s because the prosecutors have three ways to prove you were intoxicated:
1. Blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater, or
2. Not normal mentally due to the introduction of alcohol into the body, or
3. Not normal physically due to the introduction of alcohol into the body.
The last two definitions mean a person could be intoxicated at almost any blood alcohol concentration. Additionally, if you have any detectable of alcohol in your system under the age of 21, you can be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) even if you are not intoxicated. In Texas, penalty ranges for DWI can depend on your BAC., whether you have priors, and the age of the passengers in the vehicle.
|Driving Under the Influence||Class C Misdemeanor||$0-500 Fine|
|Driving While Intoxicated||Class B Misdemeanor||3-180 days in Jail,Up to a $2,000 Fine|
|Driving While Intoxicated Blood Alcohol Concentration Equal to or Above .15||Class A Misdemeanor||Up to 1 year in Jail,Up to a $4,000 fine|
|Driving While Intoxicated (Second)||Class A Misdemeanor||30 days to 1 year in Jail, Up to a $4,000 fine|
|DWI with Child Passenger||State Jail Felony||180 days – 2 Years State Jail, Up to $10,000 fine|
|DWI Felony (Third or more)||Third Degree Felony||2-10 Years Penitentiary, Up to $10,000 fine|
Students are often charged with criminal trespass. This can occur, for example, when a group of students decides to enter restricted areas, explore abandoned buildings, or return to a location where they have been prohibited.
|Criminal Trespass||Class B Misdemeanor||3-180 days in Jail. Up to a $2,000 Fine|
|Criminal Trespass Habitation||Class A Misdemeanor||Up to 1 year in Jail, $0-4,000 fine|
How to Avoid a Conviction and Not Go to Jail
If you are arrested for any of these offenses, it’s important to contact a seasoned criminal defense attorney who has experience negotiating dismissals, no-bills and options that avoid a criminal conviction. Many first time offenders are eligible for diversion programs.
|Outcome||Conviction||Cases||Can the Record Be Sealed?|
|Dismissal||No||All types of cases||Expunction Eligible|
|No Bill||No||Felony Cases||Expunction Eligible|
|DIRECT Diversion Program||No||Drug Cases||Expunction Eligible|
|FAIP Diversion Program||Yes||Felony DWI Cases||No.|
|Veteran’s Diversion Program||No.||Varies||Expunction Eligible|
|DPP Diversion Program||No.||First-time offenders including Theft and Possession of Marijuana||Expunction Eligible|
|Deferred Adjudication||No||All misdemeanors, most felonies||Expunction on Class C offenses, Non-disclosures on everything else.|
Our team consists of Board Certified Criminal Law Specialists and former state and federal prosecutors with a proven track record of success. Call us at (817) 203-2220 for a complimentary strategy session. During this call we will:
- Discuss the facts of your case;
- Discuss the legal issues involved, including the direct and collateral consequences of the allegation; and
- Discuss the defenses that apply to your plan and in general terms discuss our approach to your case.
You can also contact us online:
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