Whether you're in college, going to be in college, or have "been there, done that," crimes committed in college can have multiple implications. When someone commits a crime while he or she is not in college, that person just has their criminal record and reputation to worry about. However, when crimes are committed while in college, other factors come into play: college transcripts, academic suspension, expulsion, suspension from sports teams, drug/alcohol programs, the list goes on. Furthermore, while not everyone drinks in college, throw in some "liquid courage," and we have a bad situation waiting to occur.
What to do if I get in trouble?
First and foremost, try not to get into any trouble—this could go without being said. However, if you do find yourself into some trouble with the law, there are a few things you could do. Certain things that occur in college are not technically "crimes," but more policy violations. While cheating on an exam would be an academic policy violation, walking down the main campus drag with an open beer in your hand would be a crime—especially if you're underage. When academic violations occur, there is no need to think "lawyer," because there would be no legal process. However, certain violations can sound in both policy violations AND criminal violations. Take the second example above—walking down the main campus drag with an open beer in your hand. Chances are, the campus you are attending has their own "police division" or "campus security staff." With that being said, these folks will typically handle your violation in a strict liability way—you violated a rule, you pay the price.
However, some violations are more severe and require the city's police or law enforcement assistance. Nevertheless, and this is a huge CAPITAL "Nevertheless", do not assume that campus security is made up of "rent-a-cops." Like most of you, I spent four great years in college and I heard the yells, cackles, and calls. These men and women sometimes have just as much authority as the city or county's law enforcement—do not think they are less the authority. If you do, it could double your trouble.
Bottom line, if you get into trouble and it seems to sound like criminal behavior (underage drinking, public intoxication, fighting (assault), vandalism, theft, etc.), you may want to consider calling an attorney. Why? Read on…
When to call a lawyer?
You will want a lawyer on your side when criminal charges are pending against you. Put it this way—if the actual city or county cops are involved, you may want to contact someone with legal knowledge. Regardless of whether you are innocent or guilty, having someone beside you to represent your interests and needs can only help your situation. Don't get me wrong, if you find yourself in a situation for something small—such as being at another person's dorm after hours—there is no need to "lawyer up." However, if you do find yourself in a bad situation—do not hesitate to contact an attorney. Better safe, than sorry.
If you happen to find yourself in one of these "more severe" situations, contact your local criminal defense attorney at The Meranda Law Firm, LTD, where we will work with you through the whole process and provide you with expert legal assistance.