Your behaviour & the law

Your behaviour & the Law

Running around drunk, making a noise, stealing traffic cones and plant pots, urinating in the street, littering, flyering, wildparties; these are all things that students have a reputation for doing. Of course most people do not behave like this, but some do, both students and non-students. Some things may seem funny at the time, but can get you into trouble. You may get a criminal record, be excluded from your course, and if you study something like law, healthcare, education, or social work, you may not be able to practise, even for quite minor things.

Being a student, being drunk, or having an after exam party is not an excuse. Don’t let this happen to you.

Being Drunk

If you are drunk, and causing a problem, you can be arrested for being ‘Drunk and Disorderly’. For this you can receive a ‘fixed penalty notice’ (a spot fine of £80), or if the case goes to court, a fine of up to £1000. Failure to pay fines can result in imprisonment. At the very least you may have to sleep it off in a Police cell overnight.

Littering, Flyering, Graffiti

All of these can carry a fixed penalty fine. Even tiny things like cigarette ends, orange peel or chewing gum can result in a fine for littering. Sticking a poster for your band on a bus stop, or handing out flyers in the street without a license all count. Graffiti can also result in a charge of criminal damage.

Public Urination

Going to the toilet on the street, or in the park, can also be a public order offence, if it is likely to cause distress to someone else. It doesn’t matter how desperate you are, or how far away the public toilets are. This can still get you a spot fine.

Stealing traffic cones, and other things

Stealing or interfering with traffic cones or temporary road signs is an offence under The Road traffic Act 1988. Stealing or messing with someone’s plants or window-boxes could result in you being arrested for theft or criminal damage. Both of these can carry a fine of up to £5000 or six months in prison, though for minor offences community penalties are often used.

Parties and Noise

Parties are for many people a normal part of student life, but some get out of hand, particularly those which have been advertised on sites like facebook and partyvibe. They can also be a cause of a lot of distress or bad feeling for residents nearby, who may well be trying to sleep. There may also be damage to your house which your landlord will charge you for.

It is not illegal to have a party, but there are a number of things that could happen which are illegal. If you have a large event, ask for money, or sell alcohol, you can be breaking liscensing laws. Penalties for this can be severe.

You may find that people are taking or dealing drugs at your party. If anyone is dealing (which can just include giving a joint to someone), or are using cannabis (or opium), then as the tenant of the property you can be charged with allowing this. An amendement to the Misuse of Drugs Act which makes reference to the legality of using of any drug, has not yet been implemented, but it could possibly be implemented in the future.


Drugs are illegal whether you are a student or not and the penalties for drugs can be very serious:

Class A drugs: such as cocaine, crack, crystal meth, ecstasy, heroin, LSD (acid), magic mushrooms, methadone, opium, and any class B drug prepared for injection - Maximum penalties: seven years in prison and/or a fine for possession, life imprisonment and/or a fine for possession with intent to supply.

Class B drugs: such as amphetamines (speed),barbiturates,cannabis, codeine. Maximum penalties:five years in prison and/or a fine for possession, 14 years in prison and/or a fine for possession with intent to supply.

Class C drugs: such as Ketamine, some tranquillisers like Temazepam Maximum penalties: two years in prison and/or a fine for possession, five years prison and/or a fine for possession with intent to supply.

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