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College students and their run-ins with the law

December 11, 2014

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College students like everyone else in life make mistakes that can be career and life altering. Unfortunately, graduate and undergraduate students can and do get caught up in the criminal justice system. The most important thing to remember is that there are creative ways to resolve cases to prevent university level students from suffering educational and career pitfalls that can result from a criminal arrest and prosecution. On dozens of occasions, we have had parents contact our office wondering what will become of there children that have been recently arrested. Freaking out or losing sleep will be the initial reaction to the arrest. Once the dust settles, it is imperative to contact a criminal defense lawyer or law firm that has experience defending college and university students. Know that there are very few cases that cannot be resolved with the dismissal of the charges.

The criminal defense law firm of Donet, McMillan and Trontz, P.A. has represented dozens of college students from across the country that have been arrested for a variety of criminal offenses. Over the past ten years, we have represented college students arrested for a variety of criminal offenses including driving under the influence, possession of ecstasy, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, grand theft and dealing in stolen property. With very few exceptions, the college students represented by our firm have had their cases dismissed and gone on to do great things. Our firm has represented students from the University of Miami, Florida International University, the University of Florida and Florida State University to name a few. We have also represented college students from outside the State of Florida that get involved in the "system" while on vacation or visiting friends in South Florida.

If your son or daughter is arrested and has not posted bail, it is better to contact a criminal lawyer before posting the bond. An experienced attorney can help negotiate the terms of the bond with a bondsman which usually results in more favorable monetary terms. For more serious offenses, attorneys can appear at the bond hearing and usually have the amount of the bond reduced. Any savings regarding the bond can be used to retain a Miami criminal lawyer to defend the case. Always try to hire a counsel based in the county where your child was arrested. Local defense attorneys have better relationships with the prosecutors and are more likely to obtain a favorable result for your child. After your child has been released from custody, your search for your criminal attorney must begin. If your child resides out of state, he or she can return to her college immediately. On most occasions, the lawyers at DMT are able to resolve the cases without having your child return to the jurisdiction where the arrest occurred.

If your child was arrested on campus, bear in mind that the college or university may take administrative action such as suspension or expulsion under the Student Code of Conduct. Other negative consequences of being arrested on campus include loss of scholarships or grants and loss of student housing. If your child is arrested in an off-campus incident, do not report the incident to on-campus authorities because they can still take administrative action even though the offense was not committed on campus. Do not give them access to information they would not have obtained on their own. Each college or university has their own distinct administrative rules which must be reviewed prior to handling the case with college or university officials.

Depending on the charges, there are a variety of ways cases can be handled that result in a dismissal. For drug related cases, drug courts are often available. Successfully completing a drug court program will result in a dismissal of the case. However, these programs are onerous and last up to a year. We have been successful in having drug charges dismissed under far less onerous conditions set forth by the drug court. Pre-trial diversion programs also exist that will eventually lead to a dismissal of the charges. With that being said, cases can also be defended on their merits without having to perform any requirement set forth by the prosecuting authority.

Parents, always remember, where there is a will, there is a way. Retain an experienced, hard-working creative criminal defense lawyer to represent your child. Too much time and money has been spent on their education and future. The right lawyer will ensure that your child's educational and career path remain intact.
Categories: Criminal Defense
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