3 Legal Pitfalls College Students Must Avoid
By: Susan Parker
College is undoubtedly one of the most memorable and exciting years in any person’s life. At the same time, this is also the period when you step out of your house and enter the “adult” world. You are mostly responsible for yourself, your finances, and even your actions. While this may seem exciting at first, it comes with a ton of responsibilities as well.
As you navigate through this real world, you learn what to do and what to avoid for a good life. While this can seem like the foundation for your future, it is equally important to stay away from certain legal pitfalls as they can have a lasting impact on your future.
Instead of going through the hassle of legal implications, hear it from the experts so you can save yourself from these problems. Three legal pitfalls you should avoid at any cost are:
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense in all 50 states. Though DUI may seem like a minor offense, especially for college students, the state laws, unfortunately, don’t see it that way. And for good reason too.
Research shows that when you drive under the influence of any substance, your cognitive functioning is impaired and in turn, this greatly increases the chances of a road accident not just for you, but also for other innocent drivers on the road. This is why the state views DUI as a serious offense.
Also, the legal drinking age in the United States is 21. So, if you’re caught drinking below this legal age, you can attract penalties for that as well.
In most cases, colleges also have a strict code of conduct and have the right to initiate legal proceedings against you that could range from a formal reprimand to expulsion. Even if the college doesn’t give you a severe punishment, this offense will go in your record and this can affect your future educational and professional life.
For some reason, if you’re caught on the wrong side of this law, it is important you reach out to a specialized motor vehicle lawyer who can help out of this conundrum.
Most students tend to live in off-campus housing for at least one year during their college life. If you’re living in a rental place or planning to move to it soon, make sure you read through the terms and conditions of the rental lease thoroughly before you sign it. Once you sign the lease, the terms are binding on you and any violation can lead to legal implications.
This becomes all the more important when you live with your roommates because you become responsible for the actions of your roommates as well! In legal terms, this is called joint and several liability and all rental agreements lay down the terms of this liability.
Though this may seem unreasonable, it is perfectly understandable from the landlords’ point of view. They expect a few reasonable things from their tenants, regardless of the internal conflicts that happen between the co-habitants. They are definitely not interested in resolving any of the internal problems or politics between co-tenants and this is why they hold everyone responsible, even if one tenant violates the terms and conditions mentioned in the rental lease.
To avoid this legal pitfall, your best bet is to sign a co-habitation lease with the rest of your roommates to lay down in clear terms the responsibility of each individual. This will help you to stay away from the legal problems that arise from the actions of any other co-habitant of your place.
Do you know that your social media posts can land you in legal trouble? Yes, what your post online, especially negative or derogatory comments, can not only lead to expulsion from your college but can also land you in a court of law. The seriousness of this legal pitfall is often overlooked by college students who believe they are safe because they have the highest privacy settings. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
While using social media, make sure never to post any violent, bullying, sexually inappropriate, or any other negative comment that can put you in legal trouble.
Thus, these are the three legal pitfalls that college students must avoid.
Susan Parker is a writer and tech geek. She volunteers for local environmental conservation programs and writes stories online about things that inspire her.