Students who are involved with drugs are encouraged to seek assistance through the College health services, counseling services or other professional assistance. These services are completely confidential. Hamilton College is committed to the development and maintenance of a drug-free environment and, in accordance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, will not tolerate the unlawful possession, use, manufacture, distribution or dispensation of a controlled substance in or on property owned or controlled by Hamilton College. Drug paraphernalia and water pipes of all kinds are prohibited.

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.  While New York State allows adults 21 years and older to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana, marijuana use and possession is prohibited under federal law and is prohibited on the Hamilton College campus. The College will offer no protection or immunity from prosecution by police agencies.

Legal Sanctions Pertaining to Drug Use

  1. Legal Consequences of Operating a Vehicle While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
  2. New York State Sanctions-Possession and Distribution of Controlled Substances
    1. Marijuana
      Restriction on cannabis use (222.10) Violation.  Civil penalty not exceeding $25 or community service not exceeding 20 hours.  
      Unlawful Possession of Cannabis (225.25) Violation. Punishable by a fine of not more than $125 
      Criminal Possession and Sale (Degree depends upon amount of substance seized)
      3rd Degree - Class A Misdemeanor; imprisonment up to 1 years
      2nd Degree - Class F Felony; imprisonment up to 1 1/2 years
      1st Degree - Class D  Felony; imprisonment up to 2 1/2 years
    2. 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 2 1/2 years
      4th Degree - Class C Felony; imprisonment up to 5 1/2 years
      3rd Degree - Class B Felony; 1-9 years imprisonment
      2nd Degree - Class A-II Felony; 3-10 years to life imprisonment
      1st Degree - Class A-I Felony; 8-20 years to life imprisonment
  3. 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, 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, 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, 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:
      1. 1st conviction
        • Mandatory at least 5 years in prison if the amount of crack possessed exceeds 28 grams;
        • Mandatory at least 10 years in prison if the amount of crack possessed exceeds 280 grams;
      2. 2nd conviction and the amount of crack possessed exceeds 28 grams, minimum of 10 years and maximum of 15 years if
      3. 3rd or subsequent conviction and the amount of crack exceeds 28 grams, mandatory 25 year sentence.
    • 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.
    • 21 U.S.C. 853a: Denial of Federal benefits, such as 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): May be 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.
  4. 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 $10 million (Minimums double for a second offense).
  5. 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 15 years to life imprisonment and a fine of not more than $20 million.

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.

Controlled Substances

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/

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