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Drug charges: More than just a simple fine, particularly for college students

Another year at High Point University is about to begin. Thousands of students are getting ready to start the fall semester.

To some, it may be the first time out on their own as a freshman. For others, it may be their last year.

Regardless, parents of college kids are likely to know all too well how college is a one-of-a-kind venture. It is a place where young adults are thrown into a new environment filled with many new and exciting situations with people from all walks of life.

But not all college experiences are congenial. Sometimes a student gets caught up in a situation and a brush with the law, one that can drastically affect future opportunities.

A case-in-point involves a drug charge. Like many states, North Carolina, takes drug offenses very seriously-even when it comes to marijuana possession.

Simple marijuana possession - a potential 30 day jail sentence

Possessing .05 ounces or less of pot is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor in North Carolina with serious fines and a potential 30 days jail sentence. College students found in possession of more than .05 ounces could face a 120 day jail term.

While court fines and potential jail time are important, they aren't nearly as vital for college students as the indirect consequences that can and do stem from an arrest or conviction.

University action; loss of employment prospects

College students convicted of drug charges can face disciplinary action by the University, with a possible suspension.

Many may also have difficulty obtaining employment post graduation. Various employers today look closely at the criminal history of job applicants. It's not uncommon for college grads with stellar qualifications to be denied even an interview simply because of a prior arrest, conviction or other encounter with the law.

The bottom line: A drug charge or conviction can and does have serious consequences-even long after the incident has occurred.

However there is hope-contacting a skilled criminal defense attorney is a good first start.

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