24 Jul College Students Facing Criminal Misdemeanor Charges
Criminal Charges While in College…Procedures and Consequences.
At Chambers Law Office, we often receive calls from college students facing criminal misdemeanor charges. Sometimes the student calls and sometimes it is their parents, but either way, they are often worried about the consequences and how the accusations may affect their education. This criminal blog will review some of the more common charges our college clients face and what the criminal process may look like for them while navigating the justice system.
College Students Facing Criminal Charges – Common Offenses
Many (but not all) of the college students facing criminal misdemeanor charges who call our office are accused of alcohol or drug related charges. These misdemeanors carry varying penalties. A Class A Misdemeanor carries possible penalties from 0-365 days in jail and up to a $5000 fine. A Class B Misdemeanor carries possible penalties from 0-180 days and up to a $1000 fine. A Class C Misdemeanor carries possible penalties from 0-60 days and up to a $500 fine.
Some of the most common charges our college student clients face are those involving alcohol. These charges can range from Minor in Possession of Alcohol, Public Intoxication or Using a False ID. These are all misdemeanors ranging from Class C to Class B misdemeanors. You can find more information on alcohol offenses here.
Along with alcohol related offenses, many of our college student clients call regarding marijuana allegations. Most often, these clients are accused of Possession of Marijuana or Possession of Paraphernalia. Marijuana possession is a Class B Misdemeanor, unless the person has a prior conviction, then it can be enhanced to a Class A Misdemeanor. Possession of Paraphernalia is a Class C Misdemeanor, unless there is a prior conviction then it can be enhanced to a Class A Misdemeanor. More information on drug charges can be found here.
Criminal Procedures for Criminal Misdemeanors
When a student is charged with a criminal misdemeanor they can either be arrested (if the officer observed the alleged crime) or summonsed. If arrested, the student would be taken into custody and transported to the local jail for booking. The student would either be released on his or her own recognizance or required to post bond. If the student is given a summons, they will not be taken into custody but instead given a ticket with a future court date to appear.
For those clients who are cited for underage drinking, false ID or possession or marijuana, they are more often than not given a summons. However, if they have a prior criminal record, fight with the officer or are cited as part of a large incident, they are more likely to be arrested and taken to jail.
After the student is summonsed or arrested, they will be given a future court date and ordered to appear. At this point, it is important to hire an experienced attorney to protect their rights and resolve the case in the best way possible.
Possible Outcomes for Criminal Misdemeanor Charges
For college students facing criminal misdemeanor charges who have no prior criminal history, one possible outcome would be a criminal diversion or conditional discharge. Criminal diversion requires the student to complete certain requirements, such as taking a behavior modification class or performing community service, along with paying court fees. Once complete, charges are dismissed. Conditional discharge is a similar program, but instead of being offered by the prosecutor it is overseen by the court itself. While these may seem like easy resolutions, there can be unseen consequences, so it is still important to consult an attorney before signing anything.
If a student doesn’t qualify for diversion or conditional discharge, they may decide to resolve the matter through a plea offer or proceed to trial. The criminal defense attorney will explain the pros and cons of either option but ultimately, that decision belongs to the client. It is important to have an experienced attorney that you trust when making these decisions so you have all the information needed to make the best possible decision.
University or College Sanctions for Criminal Charges
Aside from any criminal penalties, students who are charged with criminal offenses may also face punishment from the college or university where they are enrolled. Many schools, such as Indiana University, Butler University, Ball State and University of Indianapolis have codes of conduct or codes of ethics. These rules allow the school to bring the student before a student behavior board and impose their own sanctions. These sanctions often range from community service, probation or suspension depending on the allegations. These are also often imposed regardless of the eventual outcome of the case.
Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer
Julie Chambers established Chambers Law Office in 2012 after spending five years as a deputy prosecutor in Indianapolis. She represents students facing criminal charges throughout central Indiana. She brings her unique experience as a deputy prosecutor to every case and strives to provide the best possible service. If you or your child are facing criminal charges, contact Chambers Law Office today at 317-450-2971.