5 Ways A Criminal Charge Can Affect College Students
College is a time for learning, personal growth, and career advancement. This is true whether a student plans to enroll at a local community college or a major 4-year university. Unfortunately, it can also be a time when young students hit “bumps in the road” and find that a youthful mistake turns into a criminal charge.
Common criminal charges a young student may face include disorderly conduct, public intoxication, marijuana possession (which remains illegal under Texas law), driving while intoxicated, assault, battery, and theft crimes. With any of these crimes comes the potential for jail time, fines, court costs, and other expenses involved with the incident.
College students are in a unique predicament, however, because there can be academic consequences in addition to legal consequences and personal problems.
Some frequently-encountered problems college students may face include:
- Admissions issues. If admissions officers uncover a criminal charge – whether it is in your past or still pending – they may use that against you to deny or rescind admission. If you are aware of the issue, it is best to address the issue off the bat and give yourself a chance to explain fully. In some situations, you may even be able to spin this to your advantage if you learned something from the incident.
- Troubles finding student housing or employment. Student housing applications and employment applications can often request information about an applicant’s criminal history. This is typically more of a problem for convicted felons, but any type of criminal conviction could stain your application and cause you to lose out on an apartment or job you sought. The best way to avoid this is to obtain an adjudication of your criminal case that does not involve a guilty plea or conviction. A skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to work with prosecutors to find a solution that lessens the damage or even results in a dismissal.
- Financial aid issues. While a criminal charge or background does not necessarily prevent you from obtaining federal financial aid or private loans, it does not help matters. Some lenders may deny, revoke, or reduce your financial aid offer if a troublesome issue appears on your record. Depending on the nature of the charge, they might find you less credit-worthy as a borrower. This is not always fair, but it is a fact of life in many cases.
- Reputational harm. A past or current criminal charge can affect a student’s reputation among the public and their peers. If a student is involved with extracurricular groups or sports, a criminal allegation can sometimes affect membership in these groups. Additionally, there can be some level of shame and embarrassment, not to mention harassment on social media if a criminal charge is made public. Sometimes, the “cat is out of the bag” but a student can still do damage control to resolve the legal issue and address the problem with their social groups.
- Disciplinary action from academic boards, including suspension or expulsion. Even if a charge is reduced or dismissed in court, problems can linger with school disciplinary bodies. They operate in a quasi-legal structure of their own, and may have the authority to discipline, suspend, or even expel a student. In these situations, a criminal defense lawyer who negotiated your pending charge may be able to negotiate with school administrators as well.
Whether a criminal charge is in your past, or is something you are currently facing, you want to address the issue head-on. When you are pursuing college courses, your academic future and career are at stake, and you don’t want your goals derailed by a criminal conduct issue that threatens to haunt you. Talk to a knowledgeable Pearland, Texas criminal defense attorney who knows the struggles you face and will work hard to protect your academic standing and future career.
College Students Can Consult a Texas Criminal Defense Attorney to Address Legal Issues and Protect Their Academic Future
Aspiring or current college students have enough on their plates, without worrying about the potential ramifications of a criminal charge. Regardless of the cause of your legal issue, our Pearland criminal lawyers at Keith B. French Law can help you address the issues and resolve your case as well as we possibly can. We recognize the sensitive nature of any and all criminal allegations, and how they can affect your education and career. It is our goal to minimize the damage and avoid negative consequences as you pursue a college degree.