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The Freshman Experience: Why College Freshmen Often Face Arrests Early in Their First Year

Frank C. Walker II Sept. 25, 2023

For many students, the transition to college represents newfound freedom and independence. It's a time when they step out of their parents' homes and into the world of higher education, equipped with excitement and enthusiasm. However, it's also a period when some college freshmen find themselves facing unexpected challenges, including encounters with law enforcement. This article aims to shed light on why college freshmen can often get arrested early in their first year and explores factors contributing to this phenomenon.

1. Inexperience with Freedom

One of the primary reasons college freshmen may get arrested early in their first year is their relative inexperience with newfound freedom. Many students are living away from home for the first time, and the absence of parental supervision can lead to risky behaviors. Some students may struggle to strike a balance between their newfound freedom and responsible decision-making, which can result in poor choices and legal consequences such as a DUI, Underage Consumption, Fake ID, or Drug Charges.

2. Experimentation with Alcohol and Drugs

WVU is known for their party culture, and freshmen often feel the pressure to participate. The availability of alcohol and drugs can lead to experimentation, sometimes to excess. Unfortunately, this experimentation can lead to arrests related to underage drinking, public intoxication, possession of controlled substances, or even driving under the influence.

3. Lack of Knowledge About Campus Policies and Local Laws

Many college freshmen are unaware of campus policies and local laws. Ignorance of these rules can result in unintentional violations. For instance, a student might not be aware of noise ordinances, curfews, or other local regulations that can lead to legal trouble.

4. Peer Pressure and Social Dynamics

The desire to fit in and make friends can sometimes lead freshmen to engage in activities they would not otherwise consider. Peer pressure and social dynamics can influence decision-making, leading to participation in illegal activities like trespassing, vandalism, or even petty theft.

5. Hazing and Initiation Rituals

In some cases, freshmen may be subjected to hazing or initiation rituals by certain student groups or organizations. These rituals can involve illegal activities, putting students at risk of arrest. It's essential for students to be aware of their rights and report any abusive or illegal hazing practices.

6. Misunderstandings and False Accusations

Misunderstandings or false accusations can also lead to arrests. In social situations with alcohol or drugs involved, disagreements can escalate quickly, resulting in calls to law enforcement. It's vital to communicate effectively and avoid confrontations that could lead to legal trouble.


The transition to college is a significant life change, and for many freshmen, it's an exciting and challenging time. However, the newfound freedom and unfamiliar social dynamics can sometimes lead to unfortunate encounters with law enforcement. It's crucial for college freshmen to be aware of the potential pitfalls and make responsible decisions. Seeking guidance from campus resources, understanding local laws, and resisting peer pressure are essential steps in avoiding legal trouble during the freshman year. College can be a time of growth, learning, and self-discovery, but it's essential to do so responsibly and within the boundaries of the law.

About Frank Walker Law

Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is a National Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer, and Personal Injury Attorney who has been recognized as a Super Lawyer, a member of the National College for DUI Defense, Best Attorneys in America, Best Law firms of America, America’s Greatest Attorneys, and a Top AVVO Rated attorney, with offices in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Morgantown West Virginia.

Additionally, you can find Attorney Walker on YouTube, TikTok, the Pittsburgh Attorney Podcast and the West Virginia Attorney Podcast, where he gives legal tips (not advice!) and discusses the pressing legal issues of the day.

If you or someone you love are facing criminal charges or are seriously injured in an accident, contact Attorney Frank Walker immediately at 304-413-017924 hours a day, 7 days a week for aggressive and experienced Criminal Defense or Representation in a Civil Case.