Skip to main content
Get Urgent Help
Search
Myth: PSU police aren't real cops
University police in Pennsylvania have the same powers, authority, and responsibilities as municipal police officers. Short answer: They can arrest you.
Police officer talks to student
Myth: A great place to smoke marijuana is my dorm room/the Arboretum/the fields

Students get caught. All. The. Time.

Myth: What happens in Happy Valley stays in Happy Valley

Nope. That's Vegas. Being convicted of any crime can hurt your chances of finding a job after graduation or pursuing a graduate or professional degree. Employers are increasingly relying on background checks on prospective employees. With some crimes, you risk jail time or expulsion.

Myth: I was just holding the beer/joint/pipe for my friend

Under the law, if you are holding an illegal item, or are keeping it in your room or apartment, you are in possession. Possession is not the same as ownership, but just as illegal.

Myth: Fake IDs are no big deal
Using false identification or providing a fake name to a police officer is a misdemeanor. It can mean jail time, license suspension, a record, and big fines. As an honesty crime, it can render you ineligible for some jobs, like working for a bank.
Generic driver's license
Myth: You have to be over 21 to get in trouble for furnishing

If you furnish alcohol to minors, you risk jail, fines, and a record. You can get busted for this even if you are under 21 too.

Myth: It's a summary citation. I can ignore this.

You have 10 days from the date the citation was issued to enter a plea. If you fail to respond, a warrant can be issued for your arrest.

Myth: I was drunk. I didn't know what I was doing.

In Pennsylvania, voluntary intoxication is never a defense to a crime. You are responsible for everything you do when you are drunk.

Myth: There is no help once you get caught
There are often more choices than just 'guilty' or 'not guilty,' especially for first offenses. University Park students can access free & confidential legal services at Student Legal Services.
Student Legal Services
Businessman gestures up high