College can be an exciting time where students chase their aspirations and build life-long friendships. At the same time, college is also full of young and inexperienced adults who can be reckless when it comes to decision-making. With tens of thousands of students on campus who are likely to engage in rowdy party scenes, it is not uncommon to hear about college students facing criminal charges.
Lee County is no stranger to college student crimes. With schools like Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), Florida South Western State College (FSW), and Hodges University in the area, the local crime rates are bound to be impacted. While each school faces its own share of alleged criminal activity, there are some charges that stand out among the crime logs of all colleges:
- Marijuana possession — While the medicinal use of marijuana has been legalized in Florida, recreational use remains illegal, and college students may stumble upon opportunities to access the drug. At FGCU, marijuana possession appeared most frequently on the college’s monthly crime log in 2018, with close to 50 charges during the spring semester.
- Theft — Theft allegations are common in many college campuses with large student populations. Just two months into the current fall semester, FSW has already logged five incidents of larceny, including fraud allegations regarding a stolen check worth $4,850. Other reported missing items included books valued between $800 and $1,000, personal laptops, and bicycles.
- Paraphernalia possession — Students do not have to be caught with drugs to be associated with a drug crime. Drug-related apparatus or paraphernalia is enough to get someone in trouble. In the spring semester of 2018, FGCU reported a total of 16 paraphernalia possession cases, according to the school and local police reports.
Other notable college student charges in Lee County this year included DUIs and sexual harassment allegations, although they did not hold as high a count across the local crime logs this year.
What this means for college students
College students may want to be aware of the possible penalties that lie ahead. Even though you are still in school, a criminal charge has the potential to get you expelled, tarnish your criminal record, affect your eligibility for student loans and even job opportunities. With so much of the future at stake, you may want to protect your right to graduate as much as possible.