Illegal Drug Policy
The Judicial Board will normally hear cases involving the alleged possession, use, or distribution of illegal drugs. Students found responsible for possession, use, or distribution of drugs will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, which may include separation from the College. The laws of New York State and the federal government prohibit the possession, use or distribution of illegal drugs. The penalties imposed on violators are severe. The College will offer no protection or immunity from prosecution by police agencies.
Legal Sanctions Pertaining to Drug Use
Legal Consequences of Operating a Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
- Operating a Motor Vehicle After Consuming Alcohol While Under Age 21. Any person under age 21 who operates a motor vehicle after having consumed alcohol, as determined by a blood-alcohol content of at least .02%, may be referred to the Department of Motor Vehicles for license suspension or revocation, and a $125 charge to be imposed by a hearing officer, although the violation is not to be considered as “a judgment of conviction for a crime or any other offense.” V&T Law § 1192-a, 17.
- Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) (more than .05% but less than .08% B.A.C.)
- First violation (Traffic Infraction): Mandatory $300-$500 fine; and/or imprisonment up to 15 days; mandatory 90 day license revocation.
- Violations within 5 years of any convictions for DWI or DWAI (Traffic Infraction): Mandatory $500-$750 fine, and/or imprisonment up to 30 days. Mandatory 6-month minimum license revocation.
- Violations within 10 years of any two or more convictions for DWI or DWAI (Misdemeanor): Mandatory $750-$1500 fine; and/or imprisonment up to 180 days. Mandatory 6-month minimum license revocation.
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) (.08% B.A.C. or higher or while impaired by the use of a drug)
- 1st Violation (Misdemeanor): Mandatory $500-$1,000 fine and/or 1 year imprisonment; Mandatory 6-month minimum license revocation.*
- Two or more violations in 10 years (Felony): Mandatory $1,000-$5,000 fine and/or imprisonment up to 4 years. Mandatory minimum one-year license revocation.*
- Two Convictions within 10 years involving personal injury (Felony): $500-$5,000 fine and/or imprisonment up to 4 years; 5 years involving probation is possible. Lifetime license revocation.
- If you are under the age of 21 and charged with DWAI, or DWI, and you are convicted of such charges, your license will be revoked for a minimum of one year. If you drive while your license is suspended or revoked, or if you refuse a chemical test, you face a mandatory jail term of 7-180 days and a mandatory fine of $500-$1,000. *The Department of Motor Vehicles decides when the license will be returned. It is not automatic. You must reapply and take tests.
New York State Sanctions-Possession and Distribution of Controlled Substances
Violation. 1st offense: fine less than $100; 2nd offense: fine less than $200; 3rd offense: fine less than $250.
Criminal Possession and Sale (Degree depends upon amount of substance seized)
5th Degree - Class B Misdemeanor; imprisonment up to 3 months
4th Degree - Class A Misdemeanor; imprisonment up to 1 year
3rd Degree - Class E Felony; imprisonment up to 4 years
2nd Degree - Class D Felony; imprisonment up to 7 years
1st Degree - Class C Felony; imprisonment up to 15 years
- Other Controlled Substances (methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, cocaine base, PCP, LSD, Fentanyl, Fentanyl analogue)
Possession and Sale (Degree depends upon substance, amount of substance, age of purchaser and prior record)
7th Degree - Class A Misdemeanor; imprisonment up to 1 year
5th Degree - Class D Felony; imprisonment up to 7 years
4th Degree - Class C Felony; imprisonment up to 15 years
3rd Degree - Class B Felony; 6-25 years imprisonment
2nd Degree - Class A-II Felony; 3-8 years to life imprisonment
1st Degree - Class A-I Felony; 15-25 years to life imprisonment
Federal Sanctions - Possession of a Controlled Substance* The complete range of Federal sanctions for sale of marijuana and controlled substances is summarized in the Federal Register, Volume 55, Number 159, pages 33588 and 33589
Note: These are only Federal penalties and sanctions. Additional State penalties and sanctions may apply.
- 1st Conviction - Up to one year imprisonment and fine of at least $1,000 but not more than $100,000, or both.
- After one prior drug conviction - At least 15 days in prison, not to exceed 2 years and fine of at least $2,500 but not more than $250,000, or both.
- After two or more prior drug convictions - At least 90 days in prison, not to exceed 3 years and fine of at least $5,000 but not more than $250,000, or both.
- Special sentencing provisions for possession of crack cocaine - Mandatory at least 5 years in prison, not to exceed 20 years, and fine of up to $250,000 or both if:
- 1st conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 5 grams;
- 2nd conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 3 grams;
- 3rd or subsequent conviction and the amount of crack exceeds 1 gram.
- 21 U.S.C. 853(a)(2) and 881(a)(7): Forfeiture of personal and real property used to possess or to facilitate possession of a controlled substance if that offense is punishable by more than one year imprisonment. (See special sentencing provisions re: crack).
- 21 U.S.C. 881(a)(4): Forfeiture of vehicles, boats, aircraft or any other conveyance used to transport or conceal a controlled substance.
- 21 U.S.C. 844a: Civil fine up to $10,000 (pending adoption of final regulations).
- 21 U.S.C. 853a: Denial of Federal benefits, such as student loans, grants, contracts and professional and commercial licenses, up to one year for first offense, up to five years for second and subsequent offenses.
- 18 U.S.C. 922(g): Ineligible to receive or purchase a firearm.
- Miscellaneous: Revocation of certain Federal licenses and benefits, e.g., pilot licenses, public housing tenancy, etc., are vested within the authorities of individual federal agencies.
Federal Sanctions - Sale of Marijuana*A first offense of trafficking in marijuana in amounts of less than 50 kg may result in imprisonment of not more than 5 years and a fine not to exceed $250,000. Imprisonment and fine minimums are doubled for a second offense. Trafficking in marijuana in quantities greater than 1000 kg may result in not less than 10 years and not more than life imprisonment and/or a fine not to exceed $4 million (Minimums double for a second offense).
Federal Sanctions - Sale of Controlled Substances*Penalties range from imprisonment for less than one year and/or a fine of less than $100,000 for a first offense involving a small quantity of a controlled substance. For a large quantity, second offense, the penalty may be as severe as 20 years to life imprisonment and a fine of not more than $8 million.
Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law ViolationsA student who is convicted of a state or federal offense involving the possession or sale of an illegal drug that occurred while the student was enrolled in school and receiving Title IV aid is not eligible for Title IV funds. Title IV funds include: Pell grant, FSEOG, SMART Grant, Work Study, Stafford loans, Perkins loans and Parent PLUS loans. A student convicted of possessing or selling drugs after submission of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must notify the Office of Financial Aid immediately (315-859-4434).
For information on the impact of a drug conviction on your financial aid, visit the Frequently Asked Question section of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website.
Health Risks Associated with Drug Use
Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior, including impaired judgment and coordination, increased incidence of aggressive acts, and impairments in higher mental functions, including the ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects just described. Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence. Sudden cessation of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions. Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening. Long-term consumption of large quantities of alcohol, particularly when combined with poor nutrition, can also lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and the liver.
The risks associated with the use of other controlled substances are also significant and potentially life threatening. For additional information, please refer to: www.drugabuse.gov
Alcohol and Other Drug Counseling and Treatment Programs
In addition to services and referrals offered through the Hamilton College Counseling Center (315-859-4340) and Health Center (315-859-4111), the following services and sources of information are available in the surrounding community:
Additional Information and Referral Services:
The above information on alcohol and other drugs is presented in accordance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. (Adapted with permission from Drug-Free Communities: Turning Awareness into Action, by the Office for Substance Abuse Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1989; and Complying with the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Regulations: A Guide for University and College Administrators, by The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, US Department of Education)
- Alcohol Crisis Center, 315-735-1116
- Alcoholics Anonymous, 315-732-6880
- Mohawk Valley Council on Alcoholism and Addictions, 315-733-1709
- Insight House Chemical Dependency Services, 315-724-5168
- Drug Abuse Information Line, 1-800-522-5353
- National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1-800-662-HELP
- Partnership for a Drug-Free America - www.drugfree.org/