A criminal record can significantly damage your education and future career opportunities. How your criminal charges affect you as a college student depends on the nature of the offenses, the school’s policies, and the outcome of your criminal case.

If you are a college student in the Tampa or St. Petersburg area who is facing criminal charges, contact a local defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. To speak with a criminal defense attorney, call Goldman Wetzel at 727-828-3900.

How can criminal charges affect college students?

According to the Center for Community Alternatives (CCA), two-thirds of colleges collect criminal justice information on applicants and students. For example, certain programs at the University of South Florida (USF) mention a criminal background check as a prerequisite for admission. For example, the USF College of Pharmacy requires a criminal background check for newly admitted students, as does the College of Medicine. Check with your school and program for more specific details.

Criminal charges may affect students in a number of ways, including:

  1. The college might deny you admission.
  2. It might rescind its admission offer.
  3. Your reputation at school, in the community, and at your job could suffer irreparable harm.
  4. You might have a difficult time finding student housing or an on-campus job.
  5. The school might place you on probation.
  6. You could be kicked out of student groups, be removed from student boards, and be forced to resign from sports teams.
  7. You might be denied or lose financial aid.
  8. You might have to attend drug counseling or anger management counseling or perform community service.
  9. You could have to attend a meeting with the university judicial board and answer questions about the alleged charges against you and how they violate the school’s code of student conduct.
  10. You could face expulsion or suspension.

Your Rights at USF and Eckerd College if Charged with a Crime

If you are facing criminal charges – whether the incident happened on or off campus – you could be subject to discipline and sanctions by your school. Students are entitled to have an “advisor” or representative with them as they navigate the college’s or university’s disciplinary process. If you will be making a statement or attending a hearing, we can accompany and advise you.


If you violate the Student Code of Conduct, you will receive a letter from the OSRR informing you of the review process or informing you of a provisional suspension. Here is how the process goes:

  • If you are not suspended, you will schedule an initial review meeting. The university will impose sanctions or drop the case.
  • If you are suspended, an emergency meeting will decide to drop the suspension and case; drop the suspension but not the case; or keep both.
  • You can then request a formal hearing, where an Administrative Hearing Officer or University Conduct Board (your choice) will uphold or dismiss the university charges; sanctions may be more or less severe than at the initial review.
  • You may then appeal the formal hearing decision.

Eckerd College 

The college will review any alleged violations of its policy (found in the EC-Book) and decide whether to investigate further or accuse you of a violation. If it decides that your conduct constitutes a violation, it will refer your case for a hearing.

  • You will receive notice and must respond to the complaint by contacting the Office of Community Standards and may attend a meeting to review the complaint against you.
  • If you receive an interim suspension or action against you, you can appeal the decision.
  • You may then be subject to a hearing. There are several types of hearing forums (Conduct Conference, Student Community Standards Board, Conduct Hearing, Conduct Review Committee).
  • Students receive notice of the outcome of their hearing, which may include any sanctions.
  • Students can then request a Final Review (appeal) if they do not agree with the outcome of the hearing.

How do I mitigate the effects criminal charges will have on my future?

Each criminal case is different. How to handle your charges depends on the circumstances and your charges. The best way to reduce the effects of your charges on your education or future is to avoid a conviction or reduce penalties.

If you have been charged with a crime in Tampa or St. Petersburg, such as a DUI, sexual assault, or possession, call the defense attorneys at Goldman Wetzel. We can represent your case and work towards the best possible outcome, be it reduced charges, a dismissal, or an acquittal. We can also attend any university disciplinary meetings with you. Contact our office today at 727-828-3900 to talk about your case.