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Common college crimes to avoid

The first year of college can be a liberating experience for new students in more ways than one. While most incoming freshmen will hopefully use their newfound independence to dive headfirst into the collegiate world of learning, others could find themselves on the Dean of Students' naughty list.


While no one likes to think about the repercussions of getting in trouble their first year at the UA, it doesn't hurt to know the consequences of the university's most common transgressions, just in case you are thinking about cracking open a cold one the first night in the dorms.


""By far, the most common infraction on campus is underage drinking,"" said Kevin Dougherty, program coordinator for UA Judicial Affairs at the Dean of Students Office.


In 2008, the University of Arizona Police Department reported 487 liquor and alcohol violations on campus, which is a substantially larger number than the second most common infraction, drug violations, which totaled some 267 instances.


""If you are caught in possession of drugs or alcohol, there are specific sanctions you will have to face depending on the situation,"" Dougherty said.


Typically, a first offense alcohol violation will not get one booted out of the residence halls. However, it will provide the unfortunate student with a laundry list of judicial hurdles to get through.


For starters, students who are caught taking part in underage drinking or in possession of alcohol will be slapped with an $80 fine and will have to participate in a diversion program that includes drug and alcohol classes, as well as community service.


In addition, the student's parents will be receiving a letter from the Dean of Students Office explaining the infraction.


A student's first violation will place him or her on a period of probation where the student in question will be monitored by the Dean of Student's Office for a period of time based on the severity of the infraction.


""The probationary period is not like parole. We don't call or constantly check up on students,"" Dougherty said. ""However, if students are caught participating in illegal activity during their probation, they will face heavier consequences.""


For a second alcohol offense, students can face even heftier fines, as well as expulsion from the dorms.


While an alcohol violation is no laughing matter, a student caught in possession of drugs faces much harsher consequences.


""If an incident involves drugs, including marijuana, the student will typically be evicted from the dorms for the first offense, and the UAPD will be contacted,"" Dougherty said.


For those students unlucky enough to get slapped with a possession of a controlled substance charge by the UAPD, consequences can be even more severe.


According to the UAPD, a possession of marijuana charge can have a fine of up to $500 and/or a period of 30 days in jail.


While a student will not typically see the inside of a jail cell for a misdemeanor drug charge, a possession ticket on one's record doesn't look too hot when applying for jobs down the road,


The consequences have been eye opening for Stephen Peloquin, a pre-education sophomore who received a possession of marijuana ticket last fall.


""I will have a drug violation charge on my record until I am 24 years old,"" Peloquin said.


According to the UAPD, the most common misdemeanors college students at the UA are charged with include underage drinking or possession of alcohol, possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia, DUI, use of a fake ID and giving false information to a police officer.


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (9/27)
1,051 36 3.4%
Total (8/4)
36,634 2,291 6.3%
Includes tests since August 4, 2020
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated September 27, 2020