As Summer ends and back-to-school season falls upon us, college students start to pour back into South Carolina. College is a time of growth, exploration, and learning, but sometimes it can lead to unexpected challenges.
These challenges can come in the form of criminal offenses when poor judgment comes into play. If you are a college student who has found themselves in trouble while in school (or you’re the student’s parent), understanding the implications of criminal charges during this time is crucial.
College students experiencing freedom for the first time sometimes find themselves in situations that could result in trouble. Maybe they’re partying or hanging out with new people who have exposed them to situations where trouble can arise. Typically, we find that this can lead to instances where college students find themselves facing various misdemeanor charges.
Some common offenses by college students include underage drinking, public intoxication, possession of small amounts of marijuana, shoplifting, and disorderly conduct. While these may seem like minor offenses, they can have lasting legal consequences if not handled properly.
Misdemeanor charges, even if they don’t result in a felony conviction, can have severe consequences for college students. These can include:
Misdemeanor convictions can lead to fines, probation, community service, or even short jail sentences, depending on the severity of the offense.
Criminal charges can disrupt your education. You might face disciplinary actions from your college, including academic probation or suspension, which could delay your graduation plans.
A misdemeanor charge will show up on your criminal record, which can affect your future employment prospects. Many employers conduct background checks, and a misdemeanor conviction might lead them to question your character and judgment.
If you’re receiving financial aid or scholarships, a criminal conviction could make you ineligible for these benefits, impacting your ability to afford tuition and related expenses.
Some colleges have strict housing policies regarding criminal convictions. You might face challenges with on-campus housing or finding off-campus housing.
A criminal charge can damage your reputation and relationships within your college community and beyond.
If your college-aged child is facing misdemeanor criminal charges in South Carolina, here’s what you can do as an out-of-town parent to support them:
Your child is likely already stressed, so remaining calm and reassuring is essential. Being supportive can make a significant difference during this challenging time.
Find Legal Representation
Help your child find an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Rock Hill, SC, like the legal team at SeiferFlatow. A local attorney familiar with South Carolina’s laws can provide the best guidance on how to proceed.
Help facilitate communication between your child, their lawyer, and relevant parties. Ensure your child understands the importance of honesty and cooperation with their legal counsel.
Attend Court Hearings
If possible, attend court hearings with your child. Your presence can provide emotional support and demonstrate your involvement in their case.
Work closely with your college student’s attorney to explore potential outcomes and strategies. Depending on the circumstances, a skilled lawyer may be able to negotiate for reduced charges or alternative sentencing options.
As college students in South Carolina face the challenges and opportunities of higher education, it’s important to be prepared for the possibility of misdemeanor criminal charges. Understanding the potential consequences and taking proactive steps with the help of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney from SeiferFlatow to guide you and your college student through this challenge can make a significant difference in the outcome of these cases. For students and their out-of-town parents, seeking legal guidance promptly is crucial to protect their educational and personal futures.