I have fond memories of my time in school, both in high school and in college. I was an active student, in sports and the classroom. I also had an active social life. I’m not so old that I don’t remember all the parties and clubs I went to, and the practical jokes I played on my friends. Not everything I did was legal, but that didn’t always enter my mind at the time.
Now, you are the student, and whether you’re a high school student or in college, you’re undoubtedly following a similar path to the one I did. But, fun can sometimes turn into things that are decidedly not so. Fake ID charges, underage DUI, and even assault charges can start out as an innocent night out with friends. With an arrest comes a phone call to your parents, which leads to more embarrassment and upset. The school may become involved, and the cops surely will.
In the past, officers were often likely to let a student go with a warning, but times have changed. Nowadays, they are more likely to arrest and charge you, no matter the severity of your mistake or your age. Having a criminal record as a juvenile can cause problems later in life, keeping you out of the college or career you had your heart set on or locking you out of living where you wish.
In addition to the loss of your driving privileges, an arrest and conviction for many crimes will land you in a child welfare or juvenile detention facility. You may be required to pay restitution for damaged items or property, which may leave you with less money available to buy the things you want. And, convictions often come with fines and fees, some steep.
If you’re a college student, your university may impose sanctions on you, such as suspension from a sports or academic team. You may lose out on current and future scholarship moneys, or even interviews for post-college job positions.
Often, students and their parents follow advice given by police. Most of the time, it’s bad advice. For example, the cops might tell you that a charge for a fake ID is minor, when in reality, it’s classified in the same manner as theft and forgery. You should always contact a lawyer for legal advice; it’s their job to know what is classified as a minor offense and what is not.
The processes for dealing with the court system and the college disciplinary board are very different, and tactics that work with one will be ineffective in the other. Your best option is to hire an attorney who has experience with both the juvenile justice system and with college disciplinary boards. I am just such an attorney, and have successfully defended many students who have been charged with crimes.
You might be tempted to defend yourself, because the cost of hiring an attorney seems too high. You can do that if you like, but it’s never a good idea. You don’t have the training and experience with the court system that attorneys such as myself do. You’re unfamiliar with the law and the nuances within it. You don’t have the connections I have made with prosecutors and others in the legal system. You’d do far better to hire an attorney to help you wade through the confusion that is the courts.
If you’re worried about how you’ll pay for it, don’t. I remember what it was like to be a student with limited funds. I offer payment plans that will enable you to pay for excellent and well-trained representation without breaking the bank.
Your future is too important to leave to chance. Do your best to resist the temptations that face you in social situations. When you can’t, and you find yourself in the backseat of a patrol car, know that you can get help. Call me, Sean Logue. My associates and I at Logue Law are available 24/7.